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Civil rights leader to deliver keynote address at Martin Luther King Celebration Luncheon

| Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Civil rights leader Diane Nash will serve as the keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King Celebration Luncheon on Jan. 20 at the Joyce Center, the University announced in a press release Tuesday.

Nash has a long record of service in the Civil Rights movement. Her involvement began as a college student at Nashville’s Fisk University, where she was jailed for participating in a sit-in at a desegregated lunch counter. The Chicago-native went on to help establish the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was a member of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She helped organize a wide variety of protests, including the Freedom Rides and the 1965 Selma right-to-vote movement in Alabama.

She eventually returned to Chicago, the release said, where she continued to “advocate for causes such as fair housing and anti-war efforts around the Vietnam War.”

“Diane Nash is a passionate champion of civil and human rights whose courageous leadership helped end the stronghold of segregation in the South,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the release. “The example of her tireless commitment to justice and nonviolent action inspires us all to serve the cause of justice.”

Nash previously received an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 2016. In 2017, she was the inaugural lecturer at Notre Dame Law School’s Dean’s Lecture on Race, Law and Society. She has also received major national awards for her civil rights work.

The Martin Luther King Celebration Luncheon is an annual event taking place during Walk the Walk Week, a weeklong series of events beginning Jan. 19 that is designed to inspire the community into making Notre Dame more welcoming and inclusive, the release said.

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