Civil rights activist Joanne Bland to speak at Briar Cliff

Civil rights activist Joanne Bland to speak at Briar Cliff

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SIOUX CITY | Briar Cliff University will celebrate Black History Month with “We Shall Overcome” at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace on campus.

The free public event will feature a presentation by Joanne Bland, co-founder and former director of the National Voting Rights Institute in Selma, Ala. Also taking part will be BCU’s Cliff Singers, the Mount Zion Baptist Church Choir of Sioux City and readings by BCU students whose entries won the university’s Black History Month Essay Contest.

Bland was an instrumental participant in the 1960s civil rights movement. She marched on Bloody Sunday and Turn Around Tuesday, witnessing shootings and beatings of activists by police and National Guard troops. She was the youngest person jailed during any civil rights demonstration of that period.

Bland remains active in local and regional civil rights organizations and speaks at conferences and workshops for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and throughout the U.S. An Army veteran, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Staten Island.

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