Memphis, TN, July 25, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Civil Rights Museum is proud to announce the distinguished honorees for the 32nd Freedom Award, recognizing their exceptional contributions to civil and human rights. The Freedom Award, the Museum's signature event, pays tribute to individuals who have shown unwavering commitment to promoting justice and equality.

The esteemed honorees for the 32nd Freedom Award are:

  • KERRY KENNEDY: President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a renowned human rights activist, and lawyer, Kennedy's tireless efforts span over four decades, championing various causes such as child labor, women's rights, environmental justice, and more.
  • DR. CLAYBORNE CARSON: Martin Luther King, Jr. Centennial Professor of History, emeritus, at Stanford University, Dr. Carson's profound work centers on the study of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the human rights movements that his legacy has inspired.
  • STACEY ABRAMS: A bestselling author, civil rights activist, and political leader, Abrams is a trailblazer, becoming the first black woman to be the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in United States history. She has founded multiple non-profit organizations dedicated to voting rights and addressing social and economic issues.

The prestigious award ceremony will take place on October 19, 2023, at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, TN. The Pre-Award Gala will commence at 5:30 pm next door at the Halloran Centre, followed by the Award Ceremony at 7:00 pm.

Hosted by award-winning actor and philanthropist Tobias Truvillion, the event promises captivating performances by celebrated artists, including Grammy and Peabody Award-winning poet J. Ivy and the talented international sister trio, Norah, Yarah, and Rosa of Let It Happen.

The celebration extends beyond the award ceremony, as the Museum will hold a Student Forum on October 19 at 10:00 am Central. This inspiring educational forum aims to empower middle and high school students to take action and create positive change within their communities.

The National Civil Rights Museum has a rich legacy of honoring distinguished civil and human rights leaders, including Coretta Scott King, Nelson Mandela, Bono, Oprah Winfrey, and many more. The Freedom Award presenting sponsor is Nike with signature sponsors FedEx, International Paper, and Hyde Family Foundation.

Tickets for the event will be available for purchase starting August 1 via Ticketmaster.  Event sponsorships are available.  To sponsor, or for further information and updates, please visit

About the National Civil Rights Museum:
Located at the historic Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was tragically assassinated, the National Civil Rights Museum provides an in-depth overview of the American Civil Rights Movement. Since its establishment in 1991, the Museum has attracted millions of visitors from around the world, with a profound mission to preserve the legacy of Dr. King and advocate for ongoing human rights struggles. As a Smithsonian Affiliate and a recipient of the prestigious 2019 National Medal Award, the Museum continues to inspire action and foster positive social change.

About Smithsonian Affiliations:
Smithsonian Affiliations, established in 1996, is a national outreach program that fosters collaborative partnerships between museums, educational, and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. Their long-term goal is to promote a two-way relationship between Affiliate organizations and the Smithsonian Institution, encouraging lifelong learning and discovery across America.


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