September 17, 2014, BY Kathryn Kopchik

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Several events at Bucknell University will mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The series, which is free and open to the public, will include films, discussions and a keynote talk by civil rights pioneer Diane Nash.

The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act: 50 Years After series is sponsored by the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy and the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender (CSREG).

"These two acts are the twin pillars of American civil rights law," said Associate Professor of Political Science and series co-organizer Michael James. "The series aims to remember those who sacrificed for their passage, take stock of what has and has not been achieved, and challenge those forces that would resurrect the policies and practices of racial hierarchies in new forms."

It begins Tuesday, Sept. 23, with the film, Nashville: We Were Warriors, at 7 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre (Room 301) of the Elaine Langone Center.

The film relates the work of James Lawson, a minister from Ohio who worked with young black college students to employ peaceful protests at Nashville, Tenn., lunch counters. The mayor of Nashville desegregated the lunch counters following the violent reaction to the peaceful protestors, the heavy handed approach of the local authorities, and the negative national publicity the events generated. Civil Rights pioneer Diane Nash played a pivotal role in the protests and is featured in the film.

Following the film, Bucknell professors David Ragland, education, and Jennifer Thomson, history, will lead a discussion.

Civil Rights pioneer Diane NashDiane Nash will give the talk, "The Movements of the '60s: A Legacy for Today," on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building. The talk is presented as the 28th Annual Black Experiences Lecture.

A Chicago native, Nash had never experienced segregation in public accommodations before moving to the South as a student at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., in 1959. In 1960 she became chairperson of the student sit-in movement in Nashville as well as one of the founding students of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. A year later she coordinated the Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Ala., to Jackson, Miss., a story documented in the recent PBS American Experience film Freedom Riders.

Spring events in the series include the film and discussion, Freedom Summer, on Jan. 26, and a talk by Lani Guinier, professor of law at Harvard University, on Feb. 19.