Susan Wilbur Wamsley

Nashville Studen Movement, Freedom Rides, 1961-62, Tennessee
Current Residence: Blacksburg, VA

As a student at Peabody College in Nashville, I became involved in what was then known as the "Movement." Together with students from Fisk and Tennessee A&I like Diane Nash and John Lewis, I demonstrated for the right of everyone, regardless of color, to eat at a downtown restaurant or sit anywhere they wished in a movie theater.

I was also one of about 3 white students who participated in the second freedom ride. Our bus was attacked by a mob in Montgomery, Alabama. Luckily I was not seriously hurt, but a special assistant to the then Attorney General Bobby Kennedy was knocked unconscious when he attempted to rescue me and another young woman from the angry mob.

Although I became a teacher and did not stay active in the Civil Rights movement per se, I continue to feel proud of what we were able to accomplish in Nashville. I am also extremely grateful that my own children have grown up "color blind" and that my grandchildren cannot quite conceive of a time when where someone could eat was even an issue.

The day Barak Obama was elected our first African American president was one of the happiest days I can remember. Struggles for equality are not yet over, but we have made an amazing amount of progress since those days in Nashville when I was nineteen!


Copyright ©
(Labor donated)