Young Diane Nash
PAGE 9
After several days of bloodshed, the Freedom Riders were stranded in Alabama. No bus drivers were willing to take them any further, and they were surrounded by a hostile, racist mob—the Freedom Rides were over.

Southern white supremacists thought they had won, but they didn't know about Diane Nash, a soft-spoken force to be reckoned with. Diane was a leader of the Nashville Student Movement in 1961. "It was clear to me that if we allowed the Freedom Ride to stop at that point, just after so much violence had been inflicted, the message would have been sent that all you have to do to stop a nonviolent campaign is inflict massive violence," Diane says. "It was critical that the Freedom Ride not stop, and that it be continued immediately."

On her 23rd birthday, Diane agreed to coordinate a second wave of Freedom Rides, keeping the movement alive. "We were fresh troops," Diane says.

In the middle of final exams, 21 students from various Nashville colleges left school to join the fight for equality.
FROM: Oprah Honors American Heroes: The Freedom Riders Reunite 50 Years Later
Published on May 04, 2011
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