Her Civil Rights Work Helped Her People

Freedom Rider plaque
Shonda Buchanan
October 6, 2020

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.

But the fight was only beginning.

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.

Several months later, 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! Should Nash cancel their trip?

The brutality was sickening. But instead of crying, 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. Would she let the brutality stop them this time?

No! Diane Nash’s audacious, relentless, crucial work eventually led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other landmark Civil Rights victories.

Like Nash, we must persevere, never letting fear keep us from doing what we know is right!

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