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Xernona Clayton, civil and human rights activist and producer
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 19 June 2024

The National Civil Rights Museum has announced the distinguished honorees for the 33rd Freedom Award, recognizing their exceptional contributions to civil and human rights. This is the museum's signature event, which pays tribute to individuals who have shown unwavering commitment to promoting equity and justice.

Honorees are:

  • XERNONA CLAYTON, civil and human rights activist and producer who worked closely with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the SCLC, has been a trailblazing leader in civil rights and broadcasting for 60 years. Clayton is renowned as the founder and president of the Trumpet Awards Foundation. Her pioneering spirit in broadcasting continues to inspire generations.
  • SHERRILYN IFILL, president and director-counsel emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, has left an indelible mark on civil rights advocacy. Her tenure saw LDF's increased engagement in civil rights issues, particularly in combatting voter suppression and racial discrimination.
  • SPIKE LEE,Academy Award-winning filmmaker whose groundbreaking work has reshaped filmmaking and cinema, has inspired national conversations around race, representation and culture. Lee is also a dedicated educator, serving as a tenured professor committed to nurturing the next generation of filmmakers.

The prestigious Freedom Award ceremony will be held October 17, at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee.

This year’s Freedom Award host is MC Lyte, a legend in music and entertainment. She is a pioneering  actress in television and film. The evening performances also includes Grammy-nominated recording artist, Deborah Cox, whose talent spans music, Broadway, television, film and fashion.

The celebration extends beyond the evening festivities, as the museum will hold a hybrid student forum on October 17 at FedEx Forum. The educational forum aims to empower middle- and high-school students to take action and create positive change in their communities.

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