Selma Marcher Joanne Bland to Speak at WT

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CANYON, Texas – Joanne Bland marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., in Selma in 1965, and will speak at West Texas A&M University at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center (JBK), Legacy Hall.

Bland and her sister Lynda were the youngest participants in the march. Bland will speak on “Stories of Struggle: Segregation and Civil Rights in the South.”

During her lifetime, Bland has been a witness and participant in some of our nation’s most consequential civil rights battles. As an 11-year-old, Bland marched on Bloody Sunday, Turn Around Tuesday, and the first leg of the successful march from Selma to Montgomery. She bears witness to the brutality by police and spirit of marchers who would overcome.

“Having heard Mrs. Bland tell her story of segregation and activism, this is truly a momentous occasion for WTAMU,” said history professor Marty Kuhlman. “Bringing someone who lived and experienced what most of us have only seen in movies is a tremendous opportunity for our students and community.”

Bland will be speaking as part of WT’s Black History Month events. Other campus events include “We Are One” diversity talk panel discussion at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, in the JBK Senate Chamber. The panel will consist of WT students who actually took the civil rights tour in Alabama during spring break 2019. A viewing of the movie Selma with talk-back at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12 in JBK Legacy Hall.

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