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Civil Rights Leader Joanne Bland to Speak Aug. 6 
Joanne BlandJoanne Bland was just 11 years old when she joined the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma., Ala., in 1965. She was the youngest marcher on the day that came to be known as “Bloody Sunday,” and she witnessed first-hand the beatings and abuse of her fellow marchers, including her older sister.

Bland will bring her lifetime of experiences and civil rights advocacy to Knoxville this Thursday, Aug. 6, as part of the City of Knoxville’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on Aug. 6, 1965.

Bland is the keynote speaker of a Thursday program at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Ave. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with refreshments available. The program begins at 6 p.m.

Also speaking will be Sally Liuzzo-Prado, daughter of Viola Liuzzo, a Detroit housewife-turned-activist who was murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan while volunteering in the marches from Selma to Montgomery.

Bland is the co-founder and former director of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma. She is owner and operator of Journeys For The Soul, a touring agency that specializes in educational tour on the Civil Rights tours with a major focus on Selma.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been widely used since the Civil War to limit African-Americans’ right to vote. According the U.S. Department of Justice, the Voting Rights Act has been called “the single most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever passed by Congress.”

For more information about the City of Knoxville’s commemoration of the Voting Rights Act, see knoxvilletn.gov/votingrightsact.
Posted by On 03 August, 2015 at 5:46 PM