The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Freedom Rider to speak at MLK breakfast


Civil rights activist Diane Judith Nash, founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and member of the Freedom Riders, will speak at Texas A&M Thursday morning at the 8th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast.
Kristan Poirot, assistant professor of communication, said Nash is a strong and important figure in civil rights movement history.
“She is credited for saving the Freedom Rides, she is one of the few women featured in Selma for her work in the voting rights campaign, she was heavily involved in the Nashville sit-in movement and she is actually one of the few women highlighted in the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which is a museum in Birmingham,” said Poirot, who teaches a course on the rhetoric of the civil rights movement.
Kalli Mcwhinney, biomedical sciences senior and Woodson Black Awareness Committee Chair, said the goal of the Freedom Riders was to challenge legislation by riding a bus through the South.
Mcwhinney said Nash was the same age as many college students when she began her involvement in the movement.
“Just thinking about who Diane Nash is and how she got involved with the civil rights movement and how she took an active role in what she was passionate about at such an early age, it’s inspiring.” Mcwhinney said. “She was a college student when she joined SNCC and the Freedom Riders — she was our age when she was doing all these things.”
The event will have an interview portion moderated by John Singer, assistant professor of health and kinesiology.
Singer, who teaches a class on diversity in sports, said he will hold his class at the breakfast Thursday morning as it overlaps with the class’s meeting time.
“I think it’s important for students at A&M because Ms. Nash was actually a cofounder of SNCC during the civil rights movement.” Singer said.”What better opportunity for these students to hear from a student who sat in their seats, albeit during a different time period, as a student who organized for the right of all.”
Singer will question Nash about her involvement as a civil rights activist as well as her friendship with Martin Luther King Jr.
Faculty and students hope the event will provide Bryan-College Station insight on the civil rights history of the United States.
“A&M has a bad reputation when it comes to race and diversity,” Poirot said. “And I think it’s good that not only that we have a breakfast every year, but that we bring in high profile people to show that we are making an effort to invite the community to think about black freedom now and then and what it means.”
The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in MSC 2300 and is open to the public. Tickets will be sold at the door for $8 for students and $10 for non-students.

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