The Nashville Student Movement was an organization that challenged racial segregation in Nashville, Tennessee during the Civil Rights Movement. It was created during workshops in nonviolence taught by James Lawson. The students from this organization initiated the Nashville sit-ins in 1960. They were regarded as the most disciplined and effective of the student movement participants during 1960.[1] The Nashville Student Movement was key in establishing leadership in the Freedom Riders.[2]

Members of the Nashville Student Movement, who went on to lead many of the activities and create and direct many of the strategies of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, included Diane Nash, Bernard Lafayette, James Bevel, John Lewis, C. T. Vivian, Jim Zwerg, and others.[3][4]

Protesters intentionally dressed 'sharp' during protests in anticipation of their arrests.[5]


The Nashville Student Movement received praise from Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.[6]


The Children, a 1999 book by David Halberstam, chronicles the participants and actions of the Nashville students.[7]

The establishment of the Nashville Student Movement was covered in John Lewis' 2013 graphic novel March: Book One and its animated series adaptation.[8][9]

A marker called the "Nashville Student Movement Office" was placed at 21st Avenue North and Jefferson Street to commemorate the civil rights protests in Nashville.[10]

Tourism officials in Nashville and Tennessee overall have made efforts to make the civil rights movement in Nashville as a historical tourist attraction. Efforts began in January 2018, and six Nashville locations were made a part of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail across various Southern states, a collection of different Civil Rights locations.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Turner, Jeffrey A. (2010). Sitting In and Speaking Out: Student Movements in the American South, 1960-1970. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. pp. 50–56. ISBN 9780820335933.
  2. ^ "UT-Martin Civil Rights Conference includes Native American Civil Rights struggles in Tennessee". Clarksville Online. February 24, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  3. ^ Hall, Heide (March 2, 2017). "Diane Nash refused to give her power away". Tennessean. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  4. ^ Anderson, Cynthia (October 18, 2018). "Civil Rights History Brings Tourists to Nashville". The Tennessee Tribute. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  5. ^ Gonzales, Tony (November 20, 2016). "Newly Discovered, These 1960s Nashville Police Mugshots Of John Lewis Take On New Meaning Today". Nashville Public Radio. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  6. ^ Rodgers, D. Patrick; Fox, Carrington; Haruch, Steve; Silverman, Jack; Ridley, Jim; Kreyling, Christine; Spurgeon, Ashley; Franklin, Dana Kopp; Lind, J.R.; Hutson, Laura; Jones, Elizabeth; Hyde, Hannah (February 7, 2013). "How did Nashville get to be the 'It' City? Our timeline is full of 'it.'". Nashville Scene. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  7. ^ "Halberstam's 'Best-Brightest' Blunder". Consortium News. May 17, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  8. ^ "Bill Clinton Endorses Comic Book". Huffington Post. July 30, 2013. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  9. ^ Whitbrook, James (April 26, 2016). "John Lewis' Acclaimed Graphic Novel March Is Becoming an Animated Series". io9. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  10. ^ "Marker In Nashville Honors Civil Rights Movement". News Channel 5. May 17, 2018. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  11. ^ Anderson, Cynthia (October 18, 2018). "Civil Rights History Brings Tourists to Nashville". The Tennessee Tribune. Retrieved November 3, 2018.