National Civil Rights Museum announces 30th annual Freedom Award honorees


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The National Civil Rights Museum announced Wednesday their list of honorees for the 30th annual Freedom Awards, with former First Lady Michelle Obama among honorees.

This year, the 30th annual Freedom Awards coincides with the 30th anniversary of the National Civil Rights Museum.

The event will be presented virtually, live, on October 14, 2021, at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis. The pre-show happens at 7 p.m. with the ceremony slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. (Note: all times listed are Central time.)

2019 NCRM Freedom Awards coverage

The event will be hosted by Lamman Rucker. He is an actor, entrepreneur, educator and activist whose career focus has been on helping educate and energize communities through artistic and academic innovation. This will be his third time hosting.

For more information, visit the Freedom Award website.

This year’s Freedom Award nominees are Michelle Obama, and the Poor People’s Campaign led by Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis.

Obama is noted for her work as the First Lady of the United States and through her educational initiatives. The former First Lady became a role model and advocate for girls and women, for healthy families, military personnel and their families, and girls’ education both at home and abroad.

The Poor People’s Campaign is an organization founded to finish the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and countless others who fought for civil rights. A National Call for Moral Revival aims, “to confront the interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.”

The Poor People’s Campaign demonstrated during the 21st century that nonviolent civil disobedience is still a viable means for poor people to be agents for change in democracy. The Moral Movement, founded by Rev. Dr. Barber in 2013, seeks to follow through on that goal.

Rev. Dr. Theoharis is the Director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Rev. Dr. Theoharis has worked for over 20 years with grassroots organizations on issues ranging workers’ rights, welfare rights, to homelessness. The author and pastor has made significant strides for the poor while working at Union Theological Seminary.

Darnella Frazier, the teenager who filmed the murder of George Floyd will be honored as well. It was her video that sparked global protests against injustice and brutality as well as sparked a global reckoning on race.

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