Veteran civil rights leader to visit Walla Walla


Demonstrators march in Nashville, Tenn., in April 1960 to protest the bombing of the home of civil rights activist and lawyer Z. Alexander Looby. At the head of a group of 3,000 marchers are, left to right, the Rev. C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash and Bernard Lafayette.

Demonstrators march in Nashville, Tenn., in April 1960 to protest the bombing of the home of civil rights activist and lawyer Z. Alexander Looby. At the head of a group of 3,000 marchers are, left to right, the Rev. C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash and Bernard Lafayette.

Advertisement

Schedule of events

The following is a list of local events to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday

Children’s Home Society, 1612 Penny Lane, 9-11 a.m. The Children’s Home Society is calling for six to eight volunteers to help beautify its grounds. Contact Will Matschukat at 200-1557.

Pioneer United Methodist Church, 209 E. Birch St., 10 a.m.-noon or noon to 2 p.m. The church is looking for four to seven volunteers to help provide hot meals to the needy. Contact Mary Lynne Schroder at 529-0681.

MLK Day Lecture/Service, University Church, Walla Walla University, 11 a.m. A lecture about the Rev. Martin Luther King by Bill Knott, editor and publisher of Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines, titled “He Freed a Lot of People.”

Land Title Plaza, First Avenue and Main Street, 1:30-3 p.m. The city is offering a class on graffiti removal as well as looking volunteers to help remove graffiti. Ten to 20 volunteers are needed. Contact Vicki Ruley at 527-4434.

Blue Mountain Humane Society, 26 Boyer Ave., 2-4 p.m. Volunteers will help put on a program for children in grades two through five called Super Hero Skills 101. The free program will teach children the values of empathy, compassion, cooperation and creativity. Children are urged to wear super hero costumes. An orientation for volunteers will be held at 1 p.m. in the Glover Alston Center on the Whitman campus. Contact Elaina Avery at 529-5188.

Candlelight Vigil, Reid Campus Center, Whitman College, 4 p.m. A peace march from the Reid Campus Center to the Land Title Plaza and back in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a candlelight vigil at the plaza. Event is open to the public.

Film Screening: “White Like Me,” Village Hall, Walla Walla University, 7-8:30 p.m. A screening and discussion of the film about racism and white privilege.

Thursday

Film Screening: “Freedom Riders,” Glover Alston Center, Whitman College, 7 p.m. The documentary covers the Freedom Riders, a group of students and activists who toured an often hostile South to promote desegregation. Event is open to the public.

Jan. 30

Evening with Diane Nash, Cordiner Hall, Whitman College, 7 p.m. Civil rights leader Diane Nash and Robert Withycombe, professor of rhetoric, will reflect on the Civil Rights Movement, including Nash’s experiences with the first successful sit-in campaign in Tennessee, the Freedom Riders, the Selma to Montgomery marches and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A question-and-answer session will follow. The event is open to the public.

WALLA WALLA — An influential engine of the civil rights movement will visit Walla Walla this month as part of Whitman College’s commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Although she was never a household name in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s to end segregation, racially targeted voting laws and bring equal rights to minorities, Diane Nash led some of the movement’s most influential and successful protests.

Among them were the Nashville, Tenn., lunch counter sit-ins and her participation in the Freedom Riders, a group of students and activists who traveled through an often hostile South to promote desegregation.

Nash also co-founded the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and served on a national committee that helped bring about the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Her relative anonymity was one of the things Whitman found interesting, said Matt Ozuna, the college’s interim director for Intercultural Programs and Services.

“Diane Nash — (she’s) kind of Dr. King and Rosa Parks,” he said. “Not only is she one of the few Civil Rights leaders left from the 1960s, but she’s one of the ones that might not be in all the history books.”

Nash will be on campus for two days. On Jan. 29 she will give a closed Nonviolent Resistance and Campaigning workshop to students from area colleges. On Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. she will give a public lecture about her experiences in the Civil Rights Movement.

“This is very special for us,” Ozuna said of Nash doing a lecture and a workshop. Ozuna said a student demonstration against racism and sexism on campus in November helped persuade Nash to do both events.

“Usually she does one or the other,” Ozuna said, “but for her to do both in one visit is very gracious.”

Preceding Nash’s visit, the college will hold a march and candlelight vigil at 4 p.m. Monday, the federal holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and a screening of the documentary “Freedom Riders” on Thursday. Several local organizations also will host community service projects.

The march begins at Whitman’s Reid Campus Center and goes to the intersection of First Avenue and Main Street, where a candlelight vigil will be held before marchers return to Reid.

Ozuna said between 200 and 300 marchers turned up last year, and he hopes for similar numbers this year.

“We want to encourage other Walla Walla community members to attend, as well,” Ozuna said. “All Walla Walla community members, regardless of background or belief, they’re all welcome.”

Walla Walla University also will hold several events Monday in honor of the slain civil rights leader. A public screening of “White Like Me,” a film about white privilege and modern racism will be held at 7 p.m. in Village Hall. The Seventh-day Adventist university also will hold a special Martin Luther King Jr. Day service at 11 a.m.

“It’s the only federal holiday in which community service is dedicated,” Ozuna said. “It’s more than the civil rights movements for African-Americans; it’s about rights for all Americans ...

“It’s about coming together as a community and giving back to the ‘beloved community,’ Dr. King’s ‘beloved community,’ and those are the same values that we have at Whitman.”

Ben Wentz can be reached at benwentz@wwub.com or 526-8315.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment

4 free views left!