Civil rights activist recounts segregation, protests of 1960s

Joanne Bland, civil rights activist, speaks Monday at William Woods University about her experiences during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Bland’s lecture was part of a series of events the university scheduled in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Joanne Bland, civil rights activist, speaks Monday at William Woods University about her experiences during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Bland’s lecture was part of a series of events the university scheduled in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Photo by Mandi Steele.

At 58 years old and having lived through violent times during the Civil Rights Movement, Joanne Bland doesn’t hold back when she has something to say.

In her blunt, sometimes humorous, manner, Bland retold a few of the events she experienced growing up during the turbulent times of the 1960s in Selma, Ala., to those in attendance Monday night during a public lecture at William Woods University. Bland’s audience seemed to adjust just fine to her candid remarks as there were outbursts of laughter throughout her speech, and the crowd gave her a standing ovation when she finished.

Bland — co-founder and director of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma — traveled to Fulton to speak as part of a series of events WWU organized in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The civil rights activist is noted for having been the youngest girl arrested during the 60s protests.

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