National Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Award winners inspire students

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A public forum set the stage for the National Civil Rights Museum's annualĀ  Freedom Awards Tuesday.

Hundreds of school students heard from trailblazers during the public forum at Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ. International Freedom Award honoree, journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, gave vivid stories as the first black woman to attend the University of Georgia and then become a journalist covering atrocities in Africa.

"We gave voice to the voiceless and people who were striving just to have a simple life of freedom, justice and equality," Hunter-Gault said.

TV journalist Tom Brokaw, the Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism honoree, covered many milestones in history, including the Civil Rights Movement.

"As a journalist, I have committed my life to the idea that we will fulfill the promise as it is written in the Constitution and the very idea of America that we are all created equal," Brokaw said.

Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports honoree Frank E. Robinson saw the civil rights struggle from the baseball field, both as a player and the first African-American manager of a major league team.

"There is one thing you always want to remember young people, don't ask for things to be given to you, be willing to work for it," Robinson said.

Civil Rights Activist Robert Moses received the National Freedom Award for his work educating and registering voters in Mississippi.

"The struggle basically is a struggle between the ideas that the country intones and the practices the country condones," Moses said.

The celebration continued Tuesday night at 6:30 at the Cannon Center, where the actual awards were handed out.

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