Fourth-annual ‘History Speaks’ features Freedom Rider

Fourth-annual ‘History Speaks’ features Freedom Rider

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will bring a civil rights hero to the Oklahoma City community for the fourth year in a row.

Diane Nash, who co-founded the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and led one of the early Freedom Rides to protest segregation, will speak at Oklahoma Christian on Feb. 21.

Her visit is part of OC’s fourth-annual “History Speaks” program. Past guests have included Carlotta Walls LaNier and Dr. Terrence Roberts of the Little Rock Nine, bus desegregation activist Claudette Colvin and civil rights attorney Fred Gray, and Olympic heroes John Carlos and Tommie Smith.

Nash’s involvement in the nonviolent movement began in 1959 while she was a student at Fisk University. In 1960, she chaired the student sit-in movement in Nashville, Tennessee – the first southern city to desegregate its lunch counters – and helped found SNCC.

In 1961, she coordinated the Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Alabama, to Jackson, Mississippi, a story documented in the recent PBS American Experience film, “Freedom Riders.” Late civil rights activist Julian Bond once said the decision to march in Selma came from Nash rather than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We are extremely excited to have Diane Nash coming to our campus,” said Gary Jones, OC’s multicultural and service learning coordinator. As someone who worked very closely with Dr. King, John Lewis and several other important civil rights figures, Diane Nash is a historical gem that comes along once in a lifetime.”

Nash’s History Speaks keynote, part of OC’s McGaw Lecture Series, begins at 7 p.m. on Feb. 21 in Hardeman Auditorium. Admission is free, but tickets must be reserved online at For more information, call (405) 425-5900 or email

Oklahoma Christian annually ranks as one of the best universities in the western United States by The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report. A recent study rated Oklahoma Christian as one of the best higher education values in Oklahoma, citing the university’s low net price combined with OC graduates’ high starting salaries.

OC set a school record with 2,600 students enrolled this year. The university offers undergraduate programs in more than 80 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, computer science, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity, and theological studies.