Veteran civil rights activist to speak on campus April 15

Joanne Bland
Joanne Bland

Joanne Bland, a sought-after speaker with a compelling personal story of civil rights activism, will give a public lecture 7 p.m. Wednesday, Apr. 15, in Martin Chapel of the seminary building at EMU.

Bland is co-founder and director of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Ala., where she works to promote civil and human rights and in particular seeks to increase voter awareness.

During her lifetime, she has been a witness and participant in some of the nation’s most consequential civil rights battles. She began her civil rights activism in 1961 as an eight-year-old attending a freedom and voters’ rights meeting led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The young Bland marched on "Bloody Sunday" and "Turn Around Tuesday," witnessing brutal beatings, shooting and hosing of fellow marchers by police. Only 11 years old at the time, she was the youngest person to have been jailed in these demonstrations.

She continues to be active in local and regional organizations devoted to expanding and securing civil and human rights.

The event is sponsored by the JMU Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence, JMU School of Art & Art History, EMU’s graduate Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and EMU Peace Fellowship, a student organization.

Admission to the presentation is free. For more information, contact Janie Beuthin, 540-432-4979.