National—This past Thursday Dr. Diane Nash ’61, civil rights icon and Fisk alumna, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Along with 16 other recipients, including legendary civil rights attorney Mr. Fred Gray and Olympic gymnast turned advocate Ms. Simone Biles, Dr. Nash, a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was honored for her extraordinary contributions to the civil rights movement.
 Dr. Nash received the Medal from President Joe Biden at the White House and insisted that: “the medal is shared with hundreds of thousands of patriotic Americans that have sacrificed so much for the cause of liberty and justice for all. Hundreds of thousands of Descendants of the Emancipation who participated were injured, sacrificed and/or died in the Civil Rights Movement.

This great honor belongs to them as much as it does to me. I am thrilled to receive this Medal on behalf of all of us.” President Biden echoed this during the medal ceremony stating: “…by the way, she asked me to add that because she didn’t want to take all of the credit herself”. President Biden further remarked: “…even now that I am President, she is still the one giving orders…”
Dr. Nash is the third Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient from Fisk University – joining the late Representative John R. Lewis ’67 of Georgia and historian Dr. John Hope Franklin ’35. “It seems Fisk University serves as a unique institution for students who are looking to contribute to a more just future and I am hopeful that this next generation of students will realize there is still so much to be done for a more perfect union,” said Dr. Nash.