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<br />Freedom Awards: bigger, better

The National Civil Rights Museum’s brain trust has decided to expand the lineup for the prestigious Freedom Awards as the museum notes its 20th Anniversary. The National Civil Rights Museum’s brain trust has decided to expand the lineup for the prestigious Freedom Awards as the museum notes its 20th Anniversary.

 
 Cicely Tyson

 danny glover
 Danny Glover

 
 Bill Russell

Last year’s visit by the Dalai Lama to receive his Freedom Award set up as a hard act to follow, but Executive Director Beverly Robertson and staff believe they have created a great follow with the event’s 2011 program. Selected honorees will include 15 civil rights leaders from around the world, paired with local icons whose life and work “reflect the best of the human spirit,” Robertson said.

The expanded scope was detailed at press conference on Wednesday.

The selected national honorees include Education Pioneer Award recipient Marva Collins; Humanitarian Award, Dr. Bill Frist (former U.S. Senator, Tennessee); Pioneer Award, Cicely Tyson, actress and female rights icon, and Danny Glover, actor and humanitarian; Celtic legend Bill Russell, Pioneer Award; NBA great Alonzo Mourning, Legacy Award.

Highlighting the local honorees list is Memphis civil rights icon, the Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles, pastor and confidant to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Rev. James Lawson, who introduced King to the principles of non-violence, and served as a leader in Memphis during the civil rights era.

The museum also announced plans to unveil a new and larger concept for the Peoples’ Forum, which gives free admission to thousands every year to share in part of the ceremonies.  This year’s event is to be featured around a live children’s conference, for which details are to be announced at a later time.


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