Honorees & Performers

 

 

 

 

 

Taylor Branch

TAYLOR BRANCH wrote the landmark narrative history of the Civil Rights Era, America in the King Years, a trilogy that required more than 24 years of intensive research. He has won a Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Humanities Medal, and an Emmy as Executive Producer for 2018 documentary "King in the Wilderness."

At the age of 21, Taylor Branch played a role in civil rights politics as an elected member of the Georgia Loyalist Democrats delegation at the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The delegates modeled the Mississippi Freedom Democrats of 1964 and challenged the all-white delegation.

Branch returned to civil rights history in his book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (2013) which he dedicated to “students of freedom and teachers of history.”

 

2022

HONOREE

Taylor Branch

TAYLOR BRANCH wrote the landmark narrative history of the Civil Rights Era, America in the King Years, a trilogy that required more than 24 years of intensive research. He has won a Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Humanities Medal, and an Emmy as Executive Producer for 2018 documentary "King in the Wilderness."

At the age of 21, Taylor Branch played a role in civil rights politics as an elected member of the Georgia Loyalist Democrats delegation at the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The delegates modeled the Mississippi Freedom Democrats of 1964 and challenged the all-white delegation.

Branch returned to civil rights history in his book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (2013) which he dedicated to “students of freedom and teachers of history.”

 

Isabel Wilkerson

ISABEL WILKERSON is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, Wilkerson exposes the universal human search for the American dream. The critically acclaimed author of The Warmth of Other Suns and of Caste, she explores the need to reconcile America’s karmic inheritance and the origins of both our divisions and our shared commonality. She draws a direct link between the leaderless revolution known as the Great Migration and the protest movements for social justice today, both responses to unacknowledged and unaddressed history.

She is the first Black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African American to win for individual reporting in the history of American journalism. Her book Caste is being adapted into a film by 2015 Freedom Award honoree Ava DuVernay.

2022

Honoree

Isabel Wilkerson

ISABEL WILKERSON is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, Wilkerson exposes the universal human search for the American dream. The critically acclaimed author of The Warmth of Other Suns and of Caste, she explores the need to reconcile America’s karmic inheritance and the origins of both our divisions and our shared commonality. She draws a direct link between the leaderless revolution known as the Great Migration and the protest movements for social justice today, both responses to unacknowledged and unaddressed history.

She is the first Black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African American to win for individual reporting in the history of American journalism. Her book Caste is being adapted into a film by 2015 Freedom Award honoree Ava DuVernay.

Frederick W. Smith

FREDERICK W. SMITH is the founder and executive chairman of FedEx Corporation. Global humanitarian and leader in innovation, sustainability, diversity, and inclusion. Mastered reformation of the aviation and trucking industries.

Over his nearly 50-year history leading FedEx, Smith has focused his passions on helping people acquire skills and education to access opportunity. His dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion has carried over into the FedEx culture creating opportunities for FedEx team members and communities in Memphis and around the world. As a visionary entrepreneur, his support for small businesses has led to training, mentoring, networking, and capital access to help diverse entrepreneurs grow.

2022

Honoree

Frederick W. Smith

FREDERICK W. SMITH is the founder and executive chairman of FedEx Corporation. Global humanitarian and leader in innovation, sustainability, diversity, and inclusion. Mastered reformation of the aviation and trucking industries.

Over his nearly 50-year history leading FedEx, Smith has focused his passions on helping people acquire skills and education to access opportunity. His dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion has carried over into the FedEx culture creating opportunities for FedEx team members and communities in Memphis and around the world. As a visionary entrepreneur, his support for small businesses has led to training, mentoring, networking, and capital access to help diverse entrepreneurs grow.

Jeffery Robinson
Special Tribute
Executive Director of The Who We Are Project, former ACLU deputy legal director, and former director of the ACLU Trone Center for Justice and Equality. 

He is the producer of the critically acclaimed documentary, “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America.”

Jeffery Robinson
Special Tribute
Executive Director of The Who We Are Project, former ACLU deputy legal director, and former director of the ACLU Trone Center for Justice and Equality. 

He is the producer of the critically acclaimed documentary, “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America.”

BeBe Winans
Performer
Bebe Winan’s career has spanned four decades. Since making his debut with his sister, CeCe Winans, the artist has earned six Grammy Awards, ten Dove Awards, six Stellar Awards, four NAACP Awards, three of which with his siblings, and three Soul Train Music Awards, two of which he received with his sister CeCe.
BeBe Winans
Performer
Bebe Winan’s career has spanned four decades. Since making his debut with his sister, CeCe Winans, the artist has earned six Grammy Awards, ten Dove Awards, six Stellar Awards, four NAACP Awards, three of which with his siblings, and three Soul Train Music Awards, two of which he received with his sister CeCe.
Lamman Rucker
HOST
Lamman Rucker is best known as the handsome star of Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married film sequel and hit sitcom Meet The Browns. He is also a spokesperson for several charitable efforts and community action initiatives.
Lamman Rucker
HOST
Lamman Rucker is best known as the handsome star of Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married film sequel and hit sitcom Meet The Browns. He is also a spokesperson for several charitable efforts and community action initiatives.
Ed Mabrey
Performer
Currently the only four-time World Poetry Slam Champion and an Emmy winner, Ed Mabrey has performed on international stages and on several seasons of TV One’s “Verses and Flow.” He has appeared on HBO’s All Def Digital.
Ed Mabrey
Performer
Currently the only four-time World Poetry Slam Champion and an Emmy winner, Ed Mabrey has performed on international stages and on several seasons of TV One’s “Verses and Flow.” He has appeared on HBO’s All Def Digital.
Garry Goin
and the Freedom Award House Band

Award-winning musician, composer and producer, Garry Goin,  will lead the Freedom Award House Band for a night of nonstop entertainment and melodic sounds.

Garry Goin
and the Freedom Award House Band

Award-winning musician, composer and producer, Garry Goin,  will lead the Freedom Award House Band for a night of nonstop entertainment and melodic sounds.