President Barack Obama will award four of 16 Presidential Medals of Freedom to African-Americans upon the 50th Anniversary of the awards.
The Nation’s highest civilian honor, “presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” will be awarded Nov. 20 at the White House. Among the recipients are the following:
Civil rights leader Rev. Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, distinguished minister, author, and organizer; Civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (posthumous), advisor to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie “Mr. Cub” Banks, former Chicago Clubs player, known as one of the greatest baseball players of all time; and Broadcast Journalist Oprah Winfrey among the world’s most successful talk show hosts for creating The Oprah Winfrey Show.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom. According to the White House, “more than 500 exceptional individuals from all corners of society have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom” since the inaugural awards to 31 people in 1963.
The other 2013 recipients are: Newsman Ben Bradlee; former President Bill Clinton; World War II Veteran/Former Congressman Daniel Inouye (posthumous); pioneering psychologist Daniel Kahneman; former Sen. Richard Lugar; music legend Loretta Lynn; environmental scientist Mario Molina; pioneering astronaut Sally Ride (posthumous); Arturo Sandoval; champion U.N.C. basketball coach Dean Smith; Renowned writer and activist Gloria Steinem; and revered appellate judge Patricia Wald.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours,” says President Obama. “This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”