The National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal will be awarded to United States Representative John Lewis during the 28th Annual Liberty Medal Ceremony on Monday, September 19, 2016. Representative Lewis, who, along with Hosea Williams, led the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on “Bloody Sunday,” will be recognized for his courageous dedication to civil rights and the Constitution. The event will also be broadcast on local ABC affiliate, WPVI-TV/6abc.
The National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal, established in 1988, annually honors men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.
The selection of Representative Lewis comes as the National Constitution Center, in partnership with the Constitutional Accountability Center, work together on the Second Founding Initiative, a project that will commemorate the 150th anniversaries of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, a series of constitutional amendments known as the Reconstruction Amendments.
“Through his heroic leadership on behalf of civil rights and the Constitution, Representative Lewis has helped to extend the blessings of liberty and equality to all Americans. Under his leadership, the Civil Rights Movement created the ‘more perfect union’ promised by President Lincoln at Gettysburg,” said Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, adding, “As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees the equal protection of the laws, the National Constitution Center is looking forward to a very special evening in honor of Representative Lewis.” Collaborate
“Representative Lewis is an inspiration to people all over the world,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “On behalf of the City of Philadelphia, I am thrilled to welcome him back to our city and to help showcase his achievements with the Liberty Medal.”
Representative Lewis is the only surviving “Big Six” leader of the Civil Rights Movement, a group of prominent civil rights leaders which included Martin Luther King, Jr., James Farmer, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, and Whitney Young.
In 1963, Lewis was named chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and spoke at the March on Washington, where he was the youngest speaker at the event. In addition to leading the march on “Bloody Sunday” in 1965, he participated in lunch counter sit-ins and the Freedom Rides. In 1981, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council and in 1986 to Congress. He still currently serves as a U.S. Representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District. Representative Lewis holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion and Philosophy from Fisk University.
National Constitution Center Trustee, Ira Lubert of Lubert Adler, will sponsor the Liberty Medal Prize in 2016, as he has for the past nine years. Citizens Bank, which has sponsored the Liberty Medal since 2006, returns as Chairman’s Reception Sponsor. Stradley Ronon will also return as the President’s Reception Sponsor for the fourth consecutive year.
The National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal Ceremony will be held on Monday, September 19, 2016 on Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.
Sponsorships and individual tickets to the pre-Ceremony Reception and post-Ceremony Gala Reception are currently available for purchase at constitutioncenter.org/libertymedal/support. A limited number of tickets to the Ceremony (only) will be made available to current Members of the National Constitution Center on August 24, 2016 and to the general public on August 25, 2016. Information on how to secure complimentary tickets on those dates will be posted online at constitutioncenter.org in August. To become a Member of the National Constitution Center, please visit constitutioncenter.org/support-join/membership.
For more information, visit constitutioncenter.org/libertymedal.
The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Given annually, the medal honors men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe. Six recipients of the medal subsequently have won the Nobel Peace Prize.
The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia inspires active citizenship as the only place where people across America and around the world can come together to learn about, debate, and celebrate the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. A private, nonprofit organization, the Center serves as America’s leading platform for constitutional education and debate, fulfilling its Congressional charter “to disseminate information about the U.S. Constitution on a non-partisan basis.” As the Museum of We the People, the Center brings the Constitution to life for visitors of all ages through interactive programs and exhibits. As America’s Town Hall, the Center brings the leading conservative and liberal thought leaders together to debate the Constitution on all media platforms. As a center for Civic Education, the Center delivers the best educational programs and online resources that inspire, excite, and engage citizens about the U.S. Constitution. For more information, call 215-409-6700 or visit constitutioncenter.org.
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