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GameChanger Event with scholar JoAnne Bland

FREE EVENT. During her lifetime, Joanne Bland has been both a witness and a participant in some of our nation's most consequential civil rights battles. She has seen first-hand how racism and segregation created a deadly divide between people, and thus decided she would always try to lift her voice

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Time & Location










October 11th, 7:30-8:30pm CST

Scholar JoAnne Bland

During her lifetime, Ms. Joanne Bland has been both a witness and a participant in some of our nation's most consequential civil rights battles. Born and raised in Selma, Alabama, she has seen first-hand how racism and segregation created a deadly divide between people--neighbors, co-workers, classmates--and she decided early on that she would always try to lift her voice to decry injustice wherever she saw it. In the early 1960's, she joined her grandmother at Dallas County Voters League meetings led by the great Amelia Boynton. She began her own activism, with SNCC (The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), at the age of 8 along with other children and teens in her neighborhood. They all wanted to do their part to make the goals of the Civil Rights Movement, equal justice and equal treatment, a reality for themselves and their families. By the time she was 11 years old, she had been arrested 13 times that are documented. She was an active participant in Bloody Sunday, marching alongside more than 600 peaceful activists only to get brutally beaten, tear-gassed and hit by policemen on horses with billy clubs. As a teenager, Ms. Bland was one of seven Black students to integrate A. G. Parish High School. Ms. Bland served in the US Army and returned to Selma to co-found and lead the National Voting Rights Museum, lead a tour company, Journeys for the Soul, that welcomes visitors from around the world, and is the founder of Foot Soldiers Park & Education Center ( As she guides groups through Selma now, on the trail of the foot soldiers of 1965, they see clearly the connections between our history and our current reality.

Moderator Raffi Andonian

Raffi Andonian is Amazon best-selling author of 3 books, professional public speaker, and producer and host of a streaming TV show that challenges the present by inquiring about the past. He is the founder and CEO of Raffi's Regulars, dedicated to creating a community around connecting the past to the present with relevance by applying historical perspective to major current issues. He holds two degrees in history, a third in historic preservation, and another in nonprofit organizations. He began his career working as a guide at significant historic sites, having cumulatively led nearly 100,000 visitors at the Gettysburg battlefield, the Martin Luther King Jr. birth home, and the birthplace of the atomic bomb Los Alamos NM. He relies on these experiences to facilitate reflection and dialogue via media appearances and live events; aiming to promote understanding and inquiry about challenging topics in order to help us move toward a constructive direction that acknowledges nuance and integrates perspectives.


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities North Dakota.

However, in an increasingly polarized world, we at Humanities North Dakota believe that being open-minded is necessary to thinking critically and rationally.

Therefore, our programs and classes reflect our own open-mindedness in the inquiry, seeking, and acquiring of scholars to speak at our events and teach classes for our Public University.

To that end, we encourage our participants to join us in stepping outside our comfort zones and considering other perspectives and ideas by being open-minded while attending HND events featuring scholars who hold a variety of opinions, some being opposite of our own held beliefs.

Humanities North Dakota classes and events are funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities

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