In it for the long haul: The Nashville sit-ins, pioneering non-violence training and national leadership

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Southern New Hampshire University
This thesis examines the Nashville Sit-Ins, which were the first to desegregate lunch counters in the south during the sit-in movement that occurred in the south in the early 1960s. Despite the outcome of the results of the sit-ins, it has been largely overlooked by scholars and historians on its importance not only to the Sit-In Movement, but Civil Rights Movement. The Nashville Sit-Ins were the first to desegregate lunch counters in the south two months before Greensboro Sit-ins desegregated their lunch counters. The main importance that came out of the Nashville Sit-Ins was the preparation and training that the student participants of the sit-ins received by the Nashville Christian Leadership Council non-violent workshops led by James Lawson and Reverend Kelly Miller Smith. Another important aspect of the Nashville Sit-Ins was the student involvement from Nashville, four historically black colleges and universities that included Fisk University, Tennessee State A&I, Meharry Medical College, and American Baptist Theological Seminary. Some of the students from those four universities included Diane Nash, Marion Berry, John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette, and James Bevel who would go on to be involved in the most important civil rights events during that time like the Freedom Riders and Selma-to-Montgomery Marches. The sources that will be used in the thesis include primary and secondary sources. These primary sources include archives, photographs, interviews, and letters while the secondary sources include books and journal articles. This thesis explore how the Nashville Christian Leadership Council pioneered non-violent workshops during the civil rights movement and how the Nashville Sit-Ins created civil rights leaders. (Author abstract)