Who is Diane Nash?
- Diane Nash was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1938
- She was founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
- The committee oversaw some of the 20th century's most significant civil rights initiatives
Born to a middle-class Catholic family in Chicago, Illinois, in 1938, Nash attended public and Catholic schools. After completing high school, Nash attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. She was, however, transferred to Fisk University in Nashville which was where she understood what segregation was. She saw signs that said “white, white-only, colored.” She also noticed that African-Americans were not allowed to sit at lunch counters.
"I started feeling very confined and really resented it. Everytime I obeyed a segregation rule, I felt like I was somehow agreeing I was too inferior to go through the front door or to use the facility that the ordinary public would use," she said, SNCC Digital reported.
After witnessing segregation, she began to search for ways to fight against it. She met Reverend James Lawson, who had studied nonviolent protest movements and taught nonviolence workshops.
In 1960, Nash was appointed to lead the Nashville Student Movement. She organized marches and sought to talk to restaurant owners regarding desegregating the lunch counters. Later that year, Nashville became the first southern city to desegregate lunch counters.
She then became the founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which oversaw some of the 20th century's most significant civil rights initiatives.
Martin Luther King, with whom she collaborated closely, called her the "driving spirit in the nonviolent assault against segregation at lunch counters."
Nash was also appointed to a national committee by President John F. Kennedy. The committee promoted the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the year 1964.