Joanne Bland, witness

OU Parents and Friends- (july 13th, tuesday)

Yesterday was one of the most moving days I have experienced here on this OU trip. We all met a woman named Joanne Bland. A woman of her conviction, stunned me. I cannot say that I did not respect her, however her feelings of the Civil Rights Movement were shocking. She was not afraid to look each caucasian in the face and say, “The white man will forever be superior.” This statement took me by throat, and made me speechless. Who was she to tell me this? Yes, she had walked in marches and marches for the Civil Rights Movement and yes she had gone to jail for her acts but I felt her hatred beaming down on me. On the contrary, who am I to say anything when she was there?  This woman was there for everything from MLK to the march across the Edmund Pettus bridge.

I asked one of my fellow OU students, Desiree Booker what she thought as an African American and she said that with research from W.E.B. Dubois, “the ABC of Color” said that there will always be a veil of color in every situation that you will always be able to see through it however it will never go away completely. This struck me because it made so much sense. I cannot take the blame for what my ancestors may have done but I can understand her feelings. This is exactly what I came out here to do, to understand. My understanding is in operation.

Beth Lussenhop, Central High School, OU 2010


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