She Refused To Bail Herself Out Of Danger In A Southern Jail

freedom rider plaque
Shonda Buchanan
May 16, 2023

The police arrived, cuffing her and her friends' wrists tightly and hauling them to jail. Refusing bail, these students chose to serve their sentences. Their crime?

Sitting at a whites-only lunch counter.  Upon release, Fisk University student Diane Nash met with her team, the Nashville Student Movement.

For three months, she and thousands of Black students across the country left their universities to wage war on segregation via the Freedom Rides. But racists would escalate their tactics.

The Freedom Riders were met with a brutal beating by the KKK in Alabama – and they even bombed one of their buses, out of which the riders barely escaped before it was engulfed in flames.

The brutality was sickening. But instead of backing down, Nash knew they had to continue the rides – so she made an important phone call.

She organized the next ride from Birmingham, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi, where again they were met with hateful mobs.

Diane Nash’s audacious, relentless, organizing skills eventually led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other landmark Civil Rights victories.

As Nash’s actions demonstrated, we know some people are going to give us trouble, so we must be prepared and never allow fear to keep us from doing what we know is right.