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Civil Rights Icon Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom by Cassiette West-Williams

An Illinois Woman received the highest award for her courage, integrity, and work ethic. Diane J. Nash earned a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Joseph Biden last week. She was one of 17 people to receive this award.

Diane J. Nash

Nash, 74, was an organizer for the Freedom Riders and the sit-ins for SNCC –Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (Nashville, TN chapter). She was 20 years old and six months pregnant, when she risked her life to desegregate the city of Nashville. At that time, she was a college scholar at Fisk University.

At a time in America, when Freedom Riders’ busses were being bombed and burned by angry mobs of white hate groups, Nash took on a leadership role, that disappointed her family members. A rebel, Nash was quoted as saying that sometimes, one has to be “bad”, by society’s standards, to achieve well in this country. She can be seen in the documentary, Eyes on the Prize, and with the History Makers.

Along with Nash, other African Americans who received the award were Simone Biles, a decorated American gymnast, and in his absence, Denzel Washington, who had COVID. Also recognized were the late Senator John McCain, R-AZ, and former House of Rep. Gabby Giffords, 52, who was a victim of gun violence.