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Civil Rights Activist Diane Nash Will Discuss Martin Luther King's Legacy Jan. 27

January 8, 2002-- Diane Nash, a prominent civil rights activist who helped start the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960, will talk about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the University of Virginia on Monday, Jan. 27.

Nash’s lecture is titled “Charismatic Leadership Has Not Freed African-Americans and It Never Will.” In conjunction with the national holiday honoring King the week before, the lecture will be at 7 p.m. in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom.

Nash became involved in the nonviolent movement in 1959 while a student at Fisk University and coordinated the Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Ala., to Jackson, Miss., in 1961. President John F. Kennedy appointed her to a national committee that promoted passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. She was arrested numerous times for her civil rights activities and spent time in a Mississippi jail while pregnant with her first child.

Karen Holt, director of U.Va.’s Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, said, “We are excited and honored to have a woman of Ms. Nash’s stature offer a perspective on Dr. King’s legacy, informed by her own participation in the historic struggles of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.”

U.Va.’s offices of Equal Opportunity Programs, African-American Affairs and Vice President for Student Affairs are sponsors of the event along with the offices of the President, the Darden School, the Center for Religion and Democracy and the Women’s Center.

Nash’s role in activism was included in the Public Broadcasting System’s award-winning series, “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years - 1954 to 1965.”

She was a leader in a student sit-in movement in Nashville, spurring that city to desegregate its lunch counters. She also helped start the Right to Vote movement in Selma, Ala., which played a major role leading to the Voting Rights Act. In 1965, King presented her with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s highest award.

Now a resident of Chicago, Nash works in real estate in addition to lecturing at colleges and universities around the country.

Contact: Katherine Thompson Jackson, (434) 924-3629

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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