Politician & Civil Rights Activist
Joanne Bland was born and raised in Selma, Alabama, where she lives today. She was influenced by her grandmother’s desire, and challenges, to vote. In 1961, when she was eight years old, Bland joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and began organizing kids in her neighborhood. At 11 years old, Bland was one of the youngest marchers on Bloody Sunday, and had already been arrested for nonviolent demonstrations many times. She later founded a small National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, and in 2017, began to organize walking tours of Selma called Journeys of the Soul, which teaches about the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the struggle to achieve Voting Rights. Bland remains active in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), NAACP, the Sunflower Project, Ladies with a Mission, and her church, Ward Chapel in Prattville, AL.