May 15 - Happy Birthday, Diane Nash

Posted on May 15, 2018

Nashville, Tennessee, was very important in the life of a young woman named Diane Nash. So my writeup COULD look like a lot of "Nash, while in Nashville," "in Nashville Nash organized," and so on.

I'm going to try not to be too confusing!

Diane Nash was born (on this date in 1938) and raised in Chicago. She was a young child during World War II, when her father served in the military and her mother worked full-time, so Nash was partially raised by her grandmother, who was what was then called a "lady," someone with culture, refinement, and manners.

Now here's the interesting part: Nash's grandma filled her with self-confidence - but her grandma didn't discuss race much. She didn't prepare her for the racial bigotry Nash, an African American, would face in her life.

That's generally not a great thing - ignoring a problem doesn't make the problem go away.

When Diane Nash went to college in Nashville, she faced segregation and Jim Crow laws. And she was outraged by these realities!

Luckily, Nash took her new outrage and her old self-confidence and made something beautiful out of it - and she emerged a leader.

Nash tried to find a way to fight against segregation and unfair laws, and she happened upon one of James Lawson's nonviolent civil disobedience classes. At the young age of 22, Nash became the leader of the sit-ins at a variety of lunch counters in downtown Nashville. Inspired by "the Nashville sit-ins," these restaurant protests spread to 69 cities across the U.S.

Nash was trained, and helped train others,
to just sit calmly and continue to ask for service...
to just sit calmly and take whatever abuse was
heaped upon them. Or...poured upon them, literally!

Nash also participated in a picket line protesting a grocery store that would not hire black people, and she was one of the Freedom Riders who challenged segregation of buses that went from state to state. She also worked on the Alabama Project and the Selma Voting Rights Movement, where she helped set the goal of getting the vote for every black adult in Alabama (Jim Crow laws pretty much made it illegal for black people to vote - even though THAT kind of law was actually against the law of the land, the Constitution!).

In all of this activism, Nash worked with other famous Civil Rights leaders (including Martin Luther King, Jr.), and she became one of the leading founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

She was also arrested. Like, a lot. Wikipedia says that Nash was put into jail dozens of times! Once she landed in jail, she refused to pay bail, because that would be accepting and going along with an unfair system. In every case in which Nash was arrested for, supposedly, breaking the law, it was the LAW that was wrong, not her actions! 

Also on this date:

Plan ahead:

Check out my Pinterest boards for:
And here are my Pinterest boards for:

No comments:

Post a Comment