Selma Marcher Joanne Bland to Speak at WTAMU


Ms. Bland

CONTACT: Dr. Kris Drumheller

806-651-2816 (o) 

806-626-1039 (c)

[email protected]

Canyon, Texas – Joanne Bland marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., in Selma in 1965, and will speak at West Texas A&M University as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 26 in Jack B. Kelley Legacy Hall. Bland will speak on “Stories of Struggle: Segregation and Civil Rights in the South.” As a WTAMU DLS event, it is free and open to the public.

Bland and her sister Lynda were the youngest participants in the march in Selma. During her lifetime, Bland witnessed and participated 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 they faced and the spirit of marchers who would overcome.

“I’m really excited that people on campus will get to experience a snippet of what I experienced in our week-long trip to study the Civil Rights movement,” said Alondra Villa, a senior from Tulia, who traveled with other honors students to Alabama in March 2019. “We’ve read about experiences and read stories that were primary accounts, but this was the first time I met someone who lived through this. It will be extremely important for students to hear.”

Bland will speak as part of WTAMU’s Black History Month events. Other campus events include “We Are One” diversity talk panel discussion at 12:15 p.m. on Feb. 11 in the JBK Senate Chamber, and a viewing of “Selma” with talkback at 5 p.m., Feb. 12 in JBK Legacy Hall. 

“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.”

About WTAMU’S Distinguished Lecture Series
The Distinguished Lecture Series was created to enhance education in the classroom by inviting people of national prominence to speak to WTAMU students and the community about important issues. For more information, please visit,