A pivotal figure in civil rights progress in Middle Tennessee shared her legacy on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program in advance of her Constitution Day 2016 visit to campus.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with civil rights activist Diane Nash and Dr. Mary Evins, director of the American Democracy Project at MTSU, first aired Sept. 5 on WMOT-FM/Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation below.
Nash will speak at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, in Tucker Theatre as part of MTSU’s Constitution Day festivities.
The event is free and open to the public. A printable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.
Now a Chicago realtor, Nash was instrumental in leading demonstrations against segregated lunch counters in Nashville while a student at Fisk University in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Her leadership compelled Nashville Mayor Ben West to admit that African-Americans deserved to be served alongside white patrons. Nashville became the first Southern city to desegregate lunch counters on May 10, 1960.
Subsequently, Nash went on to co-found the Southern Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, participate in the 1961 Freedom Rides to protest interstate bus segregation and work for voter registration and education in Mississippi and Alabama.
“The phrase we often used was, ‘Is this the loving thing to do?’” said Nash. “We were trying to bring about what we used to call a ‘beloved community’ as opposed to trying to win. Your attitude is important.”
Evins, who also is a research professor with the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU, will explain the other Constitution Day activities, including the reading of the Constitution at various locations around campus and placement of voter registration tables.
“The purpose is not just to pay homage to Constitution Day but to actually provide learning opportunities for our students as broadly as possible across the campus in an interdisciplinary fashion university-wide,” Evins said.
Constitution Day this year is Saturday, Sept. 17, but MTSU will observe it on the preceding Wednesday to enable more students to attend events.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.