SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Briar Cliff University will celebrate Black History Month with “We Shall Overcome,” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace on campus.
This free public event will feature a presentation by Joanne Bland, co-founder and former director of the National Voting Rights Institute in Selma, Ala.; 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.
An instrumental participant in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, Bland began her activism in 1961, attending a freedom and voters' rights meeting led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Bland also marched on Bloody Sunday and Turn Around Tuesday, where she witnessed shootings and beatings of activists by police and National Guard. She was the youngest person to have been jailed during any civil rights demonstration during that period.
Today, Bland remains active in several local and regional civil rights organizations and is a popular keynote speaker 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.
Briar Cliff University is a Catholic institution with an enrollment of more than 1,100 students from 31 states and 11 countries. Students are educated in the Franciscan tradition of excellence in the liberal arts and career preparation in an environment of care, compassion and service. For more information, please visit briarcliff.edu.