A musician, a King, a Civil Rights lawyer honored with 2017 Freedom Awards

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - National Civil Rights Museum announced the 2017 recipients for the Freedom Award on Thursday.

The following people will receive the award for their work in civil and human rights:

  • Musician Hugh Masekela
  • Rev. Bernice King
  • Civil Rights Lawyer Morris Dees

Hugh Masekela

Masekela is a South American musician who composed jazz as a trumpeter, flugelhornist, and more. He's known for such songs as "Soweto Blues" and "Bring Him Back Home."

Masekela also serves as a director for the Lunchbox Fund, which provides meals to students in South Africa.

He was a radical activist against apartheid, who spent 30 years in exile due to the political unrest surrounding the Sharpeville Massacre. He was an outspoken critic of the South African regime.

Bernice King

Bernice King is the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. She was 5 years old when her father was assassinated in Memphis.

Like her father, Bernice King is known as a powerful orator. She is the CEO of the King Center, which includes her father's boyhood home. She has also practiced as a minister and lawyer.

Morris Dees

Morris Dees is a civil rights lawyer and activist. He is the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which was formed to combat hate and hate groups through education and litigation.

The Freedom Award

NCRM announced that the October award night will also feature a special tribute to the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers, who marched alongside Dr. King through the streets of Downtown Memphis in protest of unfair wages, unsafe working conditions, and the city's refusal to allow the workers to unionize. City of Memphis announced a near-$1 million grant to the workers last month for their actions.

The awards will be hosted by Michael Angela Davis, a writer and image activist.

Since 1991, the Freedom Award has honored distinguished individuals who have made great global and national impacts on the advancement of civil and human rights.

The award ceremony will be held at the Orpheum Theatre on October 19.

Click here for a list of all the past Freedom Award recipients.

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