The Speakers Bureau

JoAnne Bland

She is a founding member of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute and continues to share her passion for civil rights with people around the world. 

In 2007, Bland started Journeys for the Soul to educate and empower people from all walks of life about the significance of the American Civil Rights Movement through guided tours of Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, two hotbeds of action during the 1950’s and 60’s. In 2012, Journeys for the Soul launched its Speakers’ Bureau. Featuring some of the most renown authorities on civil rights in America, the 

Journeys for the Soul Speakers' Bureau offers you the opportunity to come face to face with living history.

Founder/Director 

Journey's for the Soul

LYNDA BLACKMON LOWERY

Lynda Blackmon Lowery is remembered as the youngest activist in the Historic 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Nicknamed “Gofer”, she was not only tasked with fetching sodas and snacks but was also responsible for calling the parents of those teenagers who were jailed for their involvement in nonviolence movements. In 1963, her role of a “Gofer” changed to that of civil rights activist at the age of 13 after she heard Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak at Tabernacle Baptist Church. For the next two years, Lowery was trained in and taught the ideologies of the civil rights movement.

Award Winning Author, Mental Healthcare Advocate & Civil Rights Activist

Mary Liuzzo Lilleboe 

Mary Liuzzo Lilleboe has been immersed in the Civil Rights Movement since she was 17 years old. Her mother, Viola Liuzzo, was murdered by the KKK while participating in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March.  Mrs. Liuzzo was the only white woman murdered in the movement.

 In the years following the murder, Mary realized her mother’s death - not her life - had become the focus of her memories. In a quest to feel close to the mother she lost and to celebrate her life, she decided to travel through the South to talk with the people that her mother spent the last days of her life with. As she learned her mother’s story, she also learned the stories of the people her mother went to help. She was embraced by the people of the South as she rediscovered the amazing woman who raised her.

Mary tells her story at events across the country, as well as in several television, radio and film documentaries. Her unique personal perspective is an inspiration to everyone from preschool children to Congressional delegations as she brings to life the era of the 1960s  Voting Rights Movement. 

AFRIYE WE-KANDODIS

In June 2005 Sister Afriye We-kandodis was inspired to create and conduct Alabama’s own “SoulPrints of Our Ancestors,” a dramatization that enables participants to experience the embedded trauma of the Middle Passage and slavery. She firmly

believes that the study of the slave trade and slavery often occurs at scholarly or organizational levels that can overshadow and ignore the unhealed emotional and spiritual wounds of Africans and their descendants living in the Americas and Caribbean.

Playwright & Historian

Anthony Liuzzo Jr.

Anthony Liuzzo was introduced to the civil rights movement at an early age by his mother, Viola Liuzzo. 

it wasn’t until his mother’s assassination at the hands of the KKK after the voting rights march of 1965 that Mr. Liuzzo was thrust into civil rights cause. Whether it was defending himself from racial epithets or misogynistic remarks by the prejudiced, Liuzzo had to not only champion his family honor, but also the values that it held dear. In no time at all it was apparent that Liuzzo was up to the task. In the years after his mother’s slaying, Liuzzo sued the FBI for wrongful death following an exhaustive investigation into the individuals and true motive behind her slaying.

After living in Detroit, MI for a number of years while raising his family, Liuzzo now resides in Birmingham, AL., close to his mother’s memorial marker and one of the center points of the civil rights movement, taking her vision into the twenty-first century.

Civil & Human Rights Activist

ANNIE PEARL AVERY

Annie Avery, known to most as Annie Pearl, is a native of Birmingham, Alabama who participated in movements throughout the Deep South. She was a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the 1960’s and was featured in the books Hands on the Freedom Plow and 1963: Year of Birmingham. Avery has participated in countless field action committees and marches. She is a woman of action, wisdom and integrity whose voice speaks for thousands. Her courage and spirit are electrifying.

Historian & Community Activist

CHARLES MAULDIN

Although Charles Mauldin was introduced to the use of non-violence as a strategy to combat racial injustice in 1963 by Rev. Bernard Lafayette, it was not until he met Rev. James Orange in late 1964 that he truly embraced the regimens of the American Civil Rights Movement. Mauldin became a student leader and actually sat in on the meeting during which Dr. King and others made the decision to march to Montgomery. Mauldin, a member of the Dallas County Youth League, participated in the entire fifty-mile journey from Selma. Mauldin believes in the power of a made up mind. He supports harnessing the passion of youth and the power of the vote.

Historian & Community Activist

BILLIE JEAN YOUNG

 Actor, activist, poet and educator, Billie Jean Young, a MacArthur Fellow has educated and inspired hundreds of audiences the world over through her poetry, lectures, drama workshops and community organizing. For over three decades she has shared the life story of human rights activist and sharecropper from Sunflower County, Mississippi, Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer through her moving one-woman play, “Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light.” Her dynamic performance gives voice to the social and economic injustices affecting the people living across the Black Belt region of the Deep South.

Actress, Playwright & Historian