Freedom Award winners announced - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Freedom Award winners announced

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The National Civil Rights Museum has chosen the Dalai Lama as the recipient of the International Freedom Award.

The honor will be conferred at a luncheon Sept. 23 in Memphis.

"As a living example of Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandhi's non-violence in the face of political oppression and suffering, the Dalai Lama demonstrates lifelong peaceful struggle against brutality and injustice," Museum Board Chairman Benjamin L. Hooks said.

A news release from the museum said his contributions to world peace include the promotion of human values, interfaith harmony and universal responsibility.

The museum's National Freedom Award will go to Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights champion Medgar Evers.

Hooks called her a "phenomenal woman of great strength and courage" who lent her credence to a national rights group.

"Her hard work as the former Chairperson of the National Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People helped to establish this worthy organization back to its original place of prominence," he said.

The Legacy Freedom Award winner is former NBA standout Julius Erving.

The museum said "Dr. J" is being honored for his humanitarian, business and philanthropic efforts.

Erving was named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-time team and in 1993 was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The National Freedom Award and the Legacy Freedom Award will be presented Oct. 27.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recipient will be announced later.
     
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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