Memphis museum hands out Freedom Awards

Oct. 24, 2007 at 3:48 PM

MEMPHIS, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis handed out its annual freedom awards, honoring those who fight for equal rights and freedom worldwide.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal said Wednesday that this year's winners of the site's prestigious awards were Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, historian John Hope Franklin and former NBA star Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

The 47-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers standout was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award during Tuesday's ceremony for his dedication to helping rebuild neglected urban communities.

Johnson-Sirleaf was presented with the museum's International Freedom Award for her actions in her troubled African nation, an effort that once resulted in her imprisonment.

The museum also presented a Freedom Award to Franklin at the Pentecostal Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ, recognizing the Duke University professor's historical efforts for the African-American community.

The Commercial Appeal said the awards presentation was paired with a $1 million donation to the Tennessee museum from the Ford Motor Co. through its philanthropic arm.

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