- 2014 event to honor former South African President Nelson Mandela, civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams and retired Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson
- Annual award program to be held at the Music Hall on May 21, 2014; tickets now on sale
- Ford to honor Detroiters who have persevered
DEARBORN, Mich., April 15, 2014 Ford Motor Company, in collaboration with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, proudly announces the 16th Annual Ford Freedom Award honorees. The theme of this year’s celebration– the power of perseverance – salutes Ford Freedom honoree and former South African President Nelson Mandela, along with Ford Freedom Award scholar and civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams. A special award will be presented to retired Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, Tuskegee Airman pilot and World War II POW. Each honoree will be recognized for his or her persistent and tenacious efforts in the face of tremendous challenge. The Ford Freedom Awards is fundraiser for the Charles H. Wright Museum.
In addition to the awards ceremony, the evening’s festivities will include a special tribute performance. Tickets are $40 per person, or $35 for Wright Museum members. A special VIP meet-and-greet is available for $75, which includes an afterglow experience and photo opportunity with the honorees.
2014 Ford Freedom Award honoree Mandela will be celebrated as an antiapartheid activist who spent more than 25 years in prison before becoming the first black president of South Africa. Ford Freedom Award scholar and civil rights activist and author Evers-Williams is being recognized for her 30-year struggle to ensure that the killer of her late husband, civil rights activist Medgar Evers, was brought to justice and for her actions to inspire equal justice for all.
A special award will be presented to Lt. Col. Jefferson, a U.S. Air Force retiree who served with the famous 332nd Fighter Group, known as the Tuskegee Airmen, in World War II. Jefferson was captured by the Nazis and held captive as a POW during the war.
Ford Freedom Awards celebrates its 16th year in 2014. The Ford Freedom Award honoree is presented posthumously to a distinguished African American who has dedicated his or her life to improving the African-American community and the world at large through the arts, humanities, religion, business, politics, sports, science, entertainment or other field. The Ford Freedom Award scholar is an African American who has excelled on a national or international level in that individual’s chosen field. The scholar serves as a living legacy, carrying forth the ideals of the honoree and furthering those achievements for a new generation.
To commemorate this year’s event, Ford is seeking Detroiters who have demonstrated the power of perseverance. The community may nominate living individuals who demonstrate the power to endure in pursuit of their goals. Nominations should include a brief but compelling summary of three to four paragraphs describing what distinguishes the individual from others. Contact information for both the nominator and nominee should be included and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 2, 2014. Selected honorees and their nominators will receive tickets to attend this year’s Ford Freedom Award event on Wednesday, May 21.
The Ford Freedom Award program is made possible by a grant from Ford Motor Company. For additional event and ticket information, call the Music Hall Box Office at 313.887.8581 or visit www.fordfreedomaward.com.
“The Power of Perseverance“
Perseverance is not giving up; the unyielding effort required to do something and keep doing it until the end, even if it is hard. Perseverance is at the core of the African American experience and has sustained its greatest leaders. This year, we celebrate individuals whose persistent and tenacious efforts, often despite tremendous difficulties, have resulted in successful pursuit of their goals.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 181,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit corporate.ford.com.
About the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History provides learning opportunities, exhibitions, programs and events based on collections and research that explore the diverse history and culture of African Americans and their African origins. Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, The Wright Museum is the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. For more information, please visit www.TheWright.org.