On Monday, President Barack Obama named nineteen honorees for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the Nation’s highest civilian award and is given to individuals who have made contributions of merit toward the security or national interests of the United States, world peace or culture. The honorees will official be presented with their medals at the White House on November 24.
“I look forward to presenting these nineteen bold, inspiring Americans with our Nation’s highest civilian honor. From activists who fought for change to artists who explored the furthest reaches of our imagination; from scientists who kept America on the cutting edge to public servants who help write new chapters in our American story, these citizens have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world,” said the President via a press release.
The following is an abbreviated list of the honorees. Choreographer and dancer Alvin Ailey (posthumous) and professional golfer Charles Sifford, who helped desegregate the PGA. Acclaimed journalist Tom Brokaw, Ethel Kennedy for her contributions to human rights via the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. Rhythm and Blues icon Stevie Wonder is also among the honorees along with author Mario Thomas, theatrical composer Stephen Sondheim, actress Meryl Streep, iconic Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink and Mexican-American House member Edward Roybal will also be honored.