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the post so what i'm going as but for the first i heard of the freedom rides and i was in nashville and another young lady from nashville movement i were working on the nashville newsletter and we received something in the mail that said that core was going to begin the freedom rides in washington and it gave their itinerary that they would come down the east coast and then across into lebanon west towards our intern alabama mississippi and our objectives in the nashville movement where
in complete agreement with chorus objectives which was to desegregate interstate bus travel and after looking at their itinerary it was clear that they might need help somewhere along the way so i remember putting out blur in the nashville newsletter describing that the freedom ride would take place and that we in nashville would stand by in order to help if they needed help that at some point well the south was such a violent place in nineteen sixty one i don't know oh
no the stamp was a very violent place in nineteen sixty one and it was entirely improbable more than probable event that get to ride or freedom riders would be attacked when they tried to de segregate waiting rooms and in the buses one major subject of debate when asked at his is just one part of the second world war well so like when you lose yours we find that there are gray hair you know it's a big car a cell is where people are smiling getting on the bus and as one looks just like you know
they ask for food you get on the bus and so you know what i was was traveling on the bus trammell in the segregated south for black people was inconvenient is is a you know is not an adequate time it was humiliating and it was difficult blacks had to ride at the rear of the bus there were inferior waiting rooms at the ers stops there were of course separate waiting rooms and b a sign that blacks are winning two was never has and son adequate as soon as the one that whites could use very frequent mean blacks carried their own food with them
to have to confront adversity an end in itself other things that were around is there is kind of that no they now know what to expect it was certainly a part of traveling throughout the set of black people just based on the color of my skin were hated and treated with contempt very fact that there were separate facilities was to say to black people and white people they had black squares so subhuman
and so inferior bet we could not even used public facilities that the general public use and that was so so demeaning and so humiliating barrel work will pick supreme court even at one point said that there was no right that a black person handed white people had to respect and white people throughout the south acted like that so you never knew quite what would have happened that the tent you got where you go i was you know started you know they were they had no press were twelve thirteen only elects collect
follow us at this became houston's thomas insel oh oh well you are we had a member of the nashville movement that started with the initial freedom ride in washington john lewis was the heart of the central committee in nashville and that that was the group that gave guidance to the sit in movement and we had been together for years and head successfully be segregated lunch counters so the nashville movement since one of our own was taking part in the freedom ride had a stake in a personal stake in how the freedom ride went
i heard about the buses being burned in anniston in the attack didn't in birmingham and i realized that then again when the freedom riders who were beaten in birmingham and bus was burned and our writers attacked in anniston i guess it felt like an attack on us as well as auntie em there was a own strongman
of camera out or in between freedom fighters than we understood clearly the courage that it took to face those kinds of lumps here and we had a principle of not leaving people isolated but joining them when there was an attack our adversity and i think that that it occurred to us talking over that i use what you think what you feel when you heard that the freedom rides the first wave
well for the news media we heard there at the the freedom riders who had been beaten so severely and so frequently actually that it was just physically impossible for them to continue and we knew that that was true however it was school year year to me that if we allowed the freedom ride to stop at that point just after so much violence have been inflicted the message would have been sent there are you have to do it is that they were nonviolent campaign is inflict mass of violence and that would end it well ahead that message been sent
we would not have been able to have a movement about any issue about restaurants and lunch counters about other public facilities about voting are about anything else we would not have had the opportunity to have a movement about anything without huge numbers of people being killed or injured because they opposition would have been and determined to inflict mass of violence and stop the campaign so that was important that the freedom ride continue some people said well when that let things settle and cool off and maybe we you know try again in a few weeks there are a few
months and but that was really and that would've been a really huge mistake because it's like metal if if the metal is hot you can fashion it and shape it once it is cold you you can't shake it anymore so the situation was similar to that we had to move at a critical time and we had to make certain to get the freedom ride continue especially since there had been a great deal of balance it does what is that
when we hear it well before we go through the whole thing again when we heard that the freedom riders had been attacked and beaten in birmingham in the buses then the best friend in anniston i am the n and we heard that the original freedom riders would be leaving we knew that it was true that they had been beaten so frequently and so severely that it was just physically impossible for them to continue we knew that
orwell nashville was in a position to pick up the freedom ride we had done had a successful movement the year before and had to segregated lunch counters we had a group of very cohesive effective group of students who were well educated and the philosophy of non violence and actually had some experience in using it the nashville group was they're committed to desegregation a year and we have been watching the progress of the freedom ride had anticipated that at some point they might need help and we just were standing by to provide the help that we could live crew leaders who see
the original freedom riders did not saying they are i think accomplished a very valuable in remarkable our fate and they simply had been beaten so severely and so frequently there is a lead to what a human being can do it the group in nashville we were fresh troops and money so we felt like we could enter at that point and continuing the family i think also one of the things that they you know from really getting us
to that that you need more money then use that we'll talk about that that he's really understood that it was going to take over that mortal because it isn't well you'd be back so her during the nineteen sixties some texas towns did not have a lot of learning we did not have and great deal of political power that in many areas of the south we couldn't even vote we did have numbers and we did
have commit one of three principles of nonviolence own is that with large numbers of people witnessing against any injustice and not cooperating with the injustice that we could be successful at ending that injustice another principle words that we could where the opposition pan and now i'm you know keep coming in in large numbers and we understood that very well we had put it into practice before so we applied it to the freeway he's
so this data paris remains the south there were massive amount of people it anyway we appealed to the moral consciousness of the country and without merit we heard ask numbers of people to join us who people who agreed their racial segregation was wrong and we you know
we recognize that any numbers to demonstrations could be effective so the first thing we did was decide to at ourselves two to pick up to finland where the original riders had left off whether this cd you tell us about his version of that was that we hadn't been meeting and they go can think of that you come back you say i will well the first thing i remember and so after me it was clear that the freedom riders wear the original freedom riders wear going to have to leave the project and understanding that
the figure i just had to continue that we needed to have a meeting of the central committee which was the leadership committee in nashville and the same leadership committee and they demanded that i was dating at the time had a car and now there was also involved in the movement and i remember going around campus finding people who are on the central committee and to the extent of saying you know have you sane catherine burks have been saying jim bevel him saying you know various people and people would say that they were in the cafeteria about twenty minutes ago and we go to the cafeteria and follow the trail of the people within the state passed here at ten minutes ago and they went that way
and so we would go there and keep asking people and finding the people on the committee in order to get a meeting together we did it have a meaning the nashville group of students did decide that it was critical that the freedom ride continue he and we decided that we would go manning a number of the people from the central committee decided there that we ourselves would go we yell the next thing we needed was letting we needed to be able to buy tickets bus tickets we needed to do for the people who were going to have enough money so that they'd be able to buy lunch or whatever it was a
minimum amount of money but for the people who are going it was so it was money that we need to be nashville group the year before very close cooperation when i just year before but it was continued that we in the us do that group and the young national christian leadership conference and the local group in nashville we can't then the adults and we had a very close working relationship and now we had asked the adults to collect and keep track of the money they can as a weak the students where far too busy sitting in and going to jail and demonstrating what headley so at the mass meetings and
then i guess that was probably the main source of collecting money at the time the week we had to have the adults approve giving us money allocating money for this purpose and i can remember being animating hours into the night one night trying to persuade the in sales the numbers to write a check giving us the the money we need to continue the freedom ride they're big hesitation was that they were afraid for us then heads saying yeah the pictures of but sperm donor and they are victims of the pilots and
they were afraid that we would be killed or seriously injured and they felt a responsibility so it was really hard to convince them to let the money available for us to continue to go you're going to make a decision to go you make a position to know right away you lose so polls close together so if we have a meeting the venom is as you go and you wouldn't want to go three days or four days ago and you know it's a question that is going on it is as you know when did you decide that we had a meeting of the student central committee in nashville handed agree that
it was critical that the freedom ride not stop and that'd be continued immediately and we decided that we would go immediately one of the decisions that was made was that we've recognized that we need a person to be out the off the field not be on the freedom ride around and not be arrested and needed to be one of us who were planning to go we i recognize that sometimes people could take over a project in if it wasn't one of us who plan to go
sometimes those people would have their own agendas and now we didn't want that to happen we needed to coordination and they again there were several communities involved and there was birmingham liane there are several birmingham in nashville and in others and there were several organizations and laughter because now there would be court and the nashville movement we intended to involved more involved more and more people and so someone had to be recruiting steadily recruiting more people to go on the freedom ride we needed someone to train people who were planning to go on the freedom ride we needed them to
be trained in nonviolence in what to do to best protect themselves and other writers if they were attacked we thought it would not be right to send people with absolutely no orientation oh we knew would probably be arrested that there are things that you can do to prepare to be in jail than to avoid becoming demoralized and to make this jail sentence but more livable we needed correlation between the justice department and the freedom riders we wanted been informed of what we were doing and then the news media
it was important for the media to be able to attain accurate information so there clearly was a need for someone who would not be out on the free ride on the bus and in jail to come and to coordinate things plus there was the whole idea of unanticipated things that as the right progress since progressed we didn't know what would happen and so as things came up that needed to be done there needed to be someone to do that so the people who were going on the freedom ride from nashville elected me to be the coordinator and that was a really heavy responsibility because the lead
sinn fin safety of people who i loved and cared about deeply where some of my closest friends depended on online doing a good job but there was also the stress i guess is a good word love of the other's going into obviously danger and escort later i would not be on the person be facing that danger and i accepted that in that capacity as coordinator some of these students who were getting on the bus gave me sealed envelopes to be mailed in the event of a gap so i guess all these years i have felt
This record is featured in “Freedom Riders Interviews.”
American Experience
Freedom Riders
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Interview with Diane Nash, 1 of 3
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Diane Nash was a student at Fisk University and a coordinator for the Nashville Freedom Riders.
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American history, African Americans, civil rights, racism, segregation, activism, students
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Chicago: “American Experience; Freedom Riders; Interview with Diane Nash, 1 of 3,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 21, 2019,
MLA: “American Experience; Freedom Riders; Interview with Diane Nash, 1 of 3.” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 21, 2019. <>.
APA: American Experience; Freedom Riders; Interview with Diane Nash, 1 of 3. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from