MTSU is celebrating Constitution Day Wednesday, Sept. 14, with a woman whose decades of activism helped secure the blessings of liberty for all American citizens.
Civil rights leader Diane Nash, whose ideas and actions helped integrate Nashville lunch counters, desegregate bus travel and ultimately lead to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, will speak at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 14 in a free public address inside MTSU’s Tucker Theatre.
Nash’s talk, titled “Saying No to Oppression: Legacy and Civic Responsibilty,” is one of the highlights of the daylong celebration across campus in observation of the 229th anniversary of the Constitution’s signing.
Students, faculty, staff and visitors will read the historic document at multiple sites across MTSU throughout the day, and voter registration tables will be set up in busy locations to help citizens prepare for the Nov. 8 federal and state elections.
And at 4:30 p.m.Sept. 14, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Tracy Nelson, the blues-rock icon who fronted Mother Earth in the 1960s and ’70s and now sings across the country, will perform songs of freedom in Room 221 of the McWherter Learning Resources Center.
Free public parking for Nash’s 2:30 p.m. talk will be available in the lot adjoining MTSU’s Reese Smith Baseball Field, which is across the street from Tucker Theatre. A searchable, printable campus map is available here.
“2016 is a historically significant year of the woman in the United States,” noted Dr. Mary Evins, director of the American Democracy Project at MTSU and coordinator of the university’s Constitution Day activities.
One hundred years ago, in 1916, the first woman was elected to Congress. Fifty years ago, the National Organization for Women was founded. In 1981, 35 years ago, the first woman was appointed and confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Just last month, Tennessee unveiled the state’s woman suffrage statue. Civil rights, justice, voting rights, and rights for all people are the ongoing work of building a perfect union, and our universitywide programming (for Constitution Day) challenges students to get involved in this shared work.
“Ms. Nash is the embodiment of our fundamental American values and responsibilities, for which we honor her,” added Evins, who also serves as research professor with the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU. “Some of MTSU’s finest student leaders will moderate the post-lecture discussion with Ms. Nash.”
Constitution Day this year is actually Saturday, Sept. 17, but MTSU is observing it four days early to help more students participate.