Civil rights leader Diane Nash, who helped organize the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, refused to take part in this weekend’s commemoration alongside former President George W. Bush.
“I refused to march because George Bush marched, was in the photograph,” said Nash in an interview with NewsOne Now.
“I think the Selma movement was about nonviolence and peace and democracy, and George Bush stands for just the opposite – for violence and war and stolen elections,” said Nash, who pushed other activists in the 1960s to work for black voting rights. “George Bush’s administration had people tortured, so I thought that this was not an appropriate event for him.”
Nash, one of the few women in the Rev. Martin Luther King’s inner circle, said she was afraid that Bush’s participation would “confuse” the legacy of the Selma movement she shaped.
“Back in the 60s, we did not know if nonviolence would work,” she said. “Now we know that it does, and I think today should have been a celebration of nonviolence.”
“It is definitely one of the most significant social inventions of the 20th Century because it provides a way for people to resolve conflict without killing and maiming each other, and I think George Bush’s presence is an insult to me and to people who really do believe in nonviolence,” Nash said.
Watch the entire interview posted online by Roland Martin: