Freedom honorees inspire students - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Freedom honorees inspire students

Basketball legend Earvin Magic Johnson will receive the National Civil Rights Museum's highest award. He's just one of this year's recipients.

Fantastic would probably be the best way to describe Tuesday morning's public forum. Magic Johnson and the other distinguished honorees inspired students to set high goals and work toward them.

"You have to understand I was once, still am like you," said Johnson.

The star athlete used his own life story of growing up poor to inspire students who showed up for the pubic forum at Temple of Deliverance Church.

Johnson added, "We have got to change our minds and our attitudes when it comes to education."

Johnson encouraged students to set high goals. He described how he took money he made playing basketball and used it to start businesses, from movie theaters to Sarbucks stores.

"We come to Memphis to celebrate the success of the struggle for freedom," said Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Liberia's first female president. She also encouraged students.

She is this year's International Freedom Fund Award Winner. Sirleaf drew parallels between her country's fight for democracy and Dr. Kings struggle for civil rights for people in this country.

"We must toll the path to truth and keep it there so that our children and their children can have a better life than we have," she said.

His voice filled with passion, world re-nowned Historian Dr. John Hope Franklin stunned the audience as he described overcoming the dangers of a segregated south.

Each honoree's speech was emotional, especially Johnson who tearfully thanked Memphis for honoring him. "I don't know if I'm worthy, I don't know I mean. What a blessing, I just want to say thank you for allowing me to be a part of this."

There was also fantastic entertainment at Tuesday morning's forum.

Click here to email Ben Watson.

Powered by Frankly