How Diane Nash Led the Civil Rights Movement
A TRUE TALE WITH
A CHERRY ON TOP
A Paula Wiseman Book
(Simon & Schuster)
(pub.1.10.2023) 48 pages
Author: Sandra Neil Wallace
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Character: Diane Nash
" Diane grew up in the southside of Chicago in the 1940s. As a university student, she visited the Tennessee State Fair in 1959. Shocked to see a bathroom sign that read For Colored Women, Diane learned that segregation in the South went beyond schools—it was part of daily life. She decided to fight back, not with anger or violence, but with strong words of truth and action.
Finding a group of like-minded students, including student preacher John Lewis, Diane took command of the Nashville Movement. They sat at the lunch counters where only white people were allowed and got arrested, day after day. Leading thousands of marchers to the courthouse, Diane convinced the mayor to integrate lunch counters. Then, she took on the Freedom Rides to integrate bus travel, garnering support from Martin Luther King Jr. and then the president himself—John F. Kennedy"
" You arrive in the spring of 1938 on the South Side, when Chicago's leaves unfurl, emerald green like your baby-girl eyes.
CELEBRATION, JUBILATION. Your parents baptize beautiful, honey-brown you, Diane Judith Nash.
Their first, Chicago-born, no way they'll raise you down in the segregated South like they were.
True, Chicago has sides, but in your house, your parents don't talk about divides, hoping you know only love."
At first it works, until you're four, and the world war changes everything.
You travel across America for fifty years, so young people will hear how love creates change.
WELCOME, DIANE NASH, the signs say. Wonderful and wise, Diane Nash looks into your eyes and lets you know how she stayed brave the day she got arrested for ordering a sandwich. And why she refused bail and marched to jail to keep freedom rolling. It's because she loved you even before you were born.
SWEETLY, COMPLETELY. Proud to secure every freedom for you, she proved that
Love is fierce.
Love is strong.
Love is loud!
And something more: SANDRA NEIL WALLACE, in the Author's Note explains that "traveling across America for fifty years, she spoke with young people about her activism and how to create change.
'Although we had not yet met you,' Diane told them, 'we loved you. And we were trying to bring bout the best society that we could for you to be born into.'
And that's how fierce and strong and loud love is."