National Civil Rights Activist to Kick-off BGSU Firelands Diversity Celebration Month

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, renown civil rights activist Diane Nash will kick-off Bowling Green State University Firelands College’s Diversity Celebration activities with a presentation on the 1960s Civil Rights/Freedom Rides; Then and Now.

Born in Chicago and later moving to Nashville, Nash began her civil rights activism in 1959 at Fisk University where she became active in non-violent demonstrations and eventually became one of the coordinators of the Freedom Ride.

The Freedom Ride was a group of more than 400 black and white activists traveling together who risked their lives and safety to challenge the segregated travel facilities and Jim Crow laws which were widespread in the Deep South of the 60s.  The Ride occurred from May to December of 1961.  The chronicles and challenges of the group are documented in the award-winning 2010 film Freedom Riders.

Nash went on to become a leader in the civil rights movement and was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to a national committee that promoted passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Nash later became active in the peace movement that worked to end the Vietnam War, and became an instructor in the philosophy and strategy of non-violence as developed by Mohandas Gandhi.

Nash is the recipient of numerous awards, including the War Resisters’ League Peace Award; the Distinguished American Award presented by the John F. Kennedy Library; the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum Award for Leadership in Civil Rights; and an honorary doctorate of human letters from Fisk University, her alma mater.

Her work has been cited in numerous books, documentaries, magazines, and newspaper articles, and she has appeared on such TV shows and films as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Spike Lee’s Four Little Girls, and PBS’s Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years 1954-1965.

Free and open to the public, the BGSU Firelands event will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Cedar Point Center at One University Drive, Huron, Ohio.  For additional information, contact BGSU at 419.433.5560.