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Nash added to King commemoration event


Published February 20, 2014

Diane Nash

Civil rights and peace activist Diane Nash has been added to the 38th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration event, to be held Feb. 26 as part of UB’s Distinguished Speakers Series.

Nash will speak with Mary Frances Berry at 8 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Mainstage theater on the North Campus. She will take the place of Myrlie Evers-Williams, who had to cancel her appearance due to a scheduling conflict.

Their remarks will focus on the 50th anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a then-and-now look by two activists who participated in many of the historic events that keyed the new social order defined by the legislation. The program will be moderated by Athena Mutua, professor of law and Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar.

A Chicago native who had never experienced segregation in public accommodations before moving to the South, Nash went on to become one of the pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement. Her involvement in the nonviolent movement began in 1959 while she was a student at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. In 1960, she became chair of the student sit-in movement in Nashville — the first southern city to desegregate its lunch counters — as well as one of the founding students of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. In 1961, she coordinated the Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Ala., to Jackson, Miss., a story that was documented in the recent PBS American Experience film “Freedom Riders.”

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.  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.”

Tickets for the Mary Frances Berry and Myrlie Ever-Williams event remain valid for admittance to the event now featuring Berry and Nash, and do not need to be exchanged. A limited number of tickets are on sale at the Center for the Arts ticket office and through The undergraduate and Graduate Student associations, major sponsors of the Distinguished Speakers Series, will continue to provide free tickets to UB students. For more tickets information, visit the Distinguished Speakers Series website.

For more information on Nash, the Distinguished Speakers Series and ticketing, visit the series’ website.