Civil Rights leader Diane Nash talks leadership at UofSC

Posted on: 2/11/2014; Updated on: 2/10/2015
By Megan Sexton, 803-777-1421

Freedom Rider and civil rights pioneer Diane Nash will join University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides on Feb. 25 for a conversation about leadership.

The third annual President’s Leadership Dialogue will bring together Nash and Pastides at 7 p.m. at the School of Law auditorium. The event, which will include an address by Nash, a conversation with Pastides and a question and answer session with the audience, is free and open to the public.

This year the event is part of the university’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its desegregation, which includes an array of public talks, panel discussions and performances.

A Chicago native, Nash helped form the Nashville Student Movement to desegregate the city’s lunch counters and served jail time in 1961 alongside the Rock Hill Nine, a group of nine students arrested for their lunch counter protests in South Carolina. She went on to organize the Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Ala., to Jackson, Miss., and be appointed by President John F. Kennedy to a national committee dedicated to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Her courageous story was featured in the PBS American Experience film “Freedom Riders.”

Committed to non-violence, she later joined the peace movement in protest of the Vietnam War and became an instructor in the tradition of Mohatma Gandhi.

Nash has been honored with numerous awards, and her work has been the focus of books, documentaries, magazines and news reports.

Kirk Randazzo, director of USC’s Carolina Leadership Initiative, said that Nash is the ideal person for the dialogue.

“In my mind, the perfect speaker is an individual who has demonstrated leadership talent not just someone who talks about the importance of leadership. Diane exemplifies this type of individual. Her story is one about personal belief and conviction in the face of extreme adversity and how perseverance and leadership can make a tremendous impact on society. We are very fortunate to have her visiting our campus.”

The leadership dialogue is part of the Carolina Leadership Initiative, an organization that promotes leadership development on campus and helps create new leadership projects. The initiative is designed to help students develop the motivation and the skills to make a positive difference in their local communities, throughout the state of South Carolina and around the nation and world.

Learn more

Watch the "Freedom Riders" documentary on PBS and read about the students who led the desegregation of USC in 1963.

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