2017 Freedom Awards urge continued fight for freedom

Attendees line up outside of the Orpheum before the awards ceremony (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Attendees line up outside of the Orpheum before the awards ceremony (Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The 2017 Freedom Awards, put on by the National Civil Rights Museum, were held Thursday night.

It was the first time the awards ceremony has been held at the Orpheum, and it all happened in the lead up to the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death next April.

WMC Action News 5's Jerica Phillips emceed the red-carpet event.

Reverend Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Morris Dees, a civil rights lawyer, and Hugh Masekela, a composer who fought for peace in South Africa, are this year's Freedom Awards recipients.

The theme at this year's annual Freedom Awards was, "Where do we go from here?"

"Struggle is a never-ending process and freedom is never really won," King said.

We asked King about 2016's record-breaking homicide year in Memphis and perhaps her father's thoughts.

"I certainly don't think anything would surprise him," King said. "I think he'd be disappointed that we did not heed some of the messages that he left with us. He also talked about developing a sense of loyalty to all of humanity."

At the awards show, there was music, dance, and powerful messages as the fight continues for freedom, peace, and nonviolence.

"I hope you'll live up to the words that the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King delivered," Dees said.
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The show also paid tribute to Memphis sanitation workers.

Although we're seeing and have seen strides towards the fight for civil rights, one question still stands.

"Where do we go from here?" said NCRM President Terri Freeman.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.