National Civil Rights Museum presents a virtual Student Forum as the Freedom Award’s opening event

Program to spark conversation and action in youth across the nation

Memphis, TN, Oct. 05, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Civil Rights Museum’s Student Forum, a celebration for and by young trailblazers, is opening its virtual doors worldwide. The program kicks off the Freedom Award festivities and is an opportunity for students to be inspired by the purpose-driven lives of Freedom Award honorees. The 31st Freedom Award honorees are Taylor Branch, Isabel Wilkerson, and Frederick W. Smith.

“The Student Forum has always been a much-anticipated part of our Freedom Award celebration, where we feature not only the Freedom Award Honorees but also area students, said Dr. Noelle Trent, the museum’s Director of Interpretation, Collections, and Education. “This year, we will commemorate the 60th anniversary of James Meredith’s integration of the University of Mississippi.”

Sponsored by International Paper, the Freedom Award Student Forum is designed to inspire students to stand up for something meaningful in their communities. Segments like Student Spotlight and a Q&A discussion with this year’s honorees engage and motivate young scholars to achieve through their commitments to outstanding community service.

The Student Forum live stream is free and open to classrooms, schools, and youth centers globally. Registration is highly encouraged and is available online. Community leaders, educators, and youth leaders are encouraged to register their groups for the virtual event and to participate in a moderated chat and social media using the hashtag #NCRMStudentForum.

This year, Student Forum will highlight the achievements of past Keeper of the Dream winners and how they continue to impact their communities The program will present former and future changemakers who ignited a fire in young catalysts to empower themselves and others.

Since 1991, the National Civil Rights Museum has presented the Freedom Award to some of the world's most lauded civil and human rights leaders and history makers.  The Student Forum allowed youth to connect with honorees like Coretta Scott King, President Nelson Mandela, President Bill Clinton, President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rosa Parks, Bono, Secretary of State Colin Powell, President Oscar Arias, President Mary Robinson, Paul Rusesabagina, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Tom Brokaw, Frank Robinson, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Bernard Lafayette, Marlo Thomas, Dolores Huerta, Rev. James Lawson, Rev. Bernice A. King, Rev. Jesse Jackson, John Legend, Hafsat Abiola, Gloria Steinem, the Poor People’s Campaign, and Michelle Obama.

About the National Civil Rights Museum

The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from slavery to the present. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors from around the world have come, including more than 90,000 students annually. Serving as the new public square, the Museum is steadfast in its mission to honor and preserve the site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.  It chronicles the American civil rights movement and tells the story of the ongoing struggle for human rights, serving as a catalyst to inspire action to create positive social change.  A Smithsonian Affiliate and an internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum is recognized as a 2019 National Medal Award recipient by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), the top national honor for museums and libraries.  It is a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 5% U.S. Museum, USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal.

About Smithsonian Affiliations

Established in 1996, Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships with museums and educational and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. The long-term goal of Smithsonian Affiliations is to facilitate a two-way relationship among the Affiliate organizations and the Smithsonian Institution to increase discovery and inspire lifelong learning in communities across America. More information about the Smithsonian Affiliations program and Affiliate activity is available at