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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The 27th National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Awards honored Vice President Joe Biden, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Pitt Hyde in downtown Memphis.

A red carpet event welcomed the honorees and local stars to the annual award ceremony.

Every year the National Civil Rights Museum honors distinguished individuals who have made great global and national impact.

“It’s just amazing to me to join the ranks of so many heroes of mine like Nelson Mandela. I never dreamed I would be a recipient, so it’s a thrill being here,” philanthropist and honoree Pitt Hyde said.

Hyde is the founder of Auto Zone.

“This all started with trying to turn a tragic site into something positive for Memphis and for the country. Of course it’s come so far in all those respects,” he said.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, an icon of the civil rights movement, says he couldn’t be more humbled.

President Terri Freeman tells us how she decided on the honorees.

“Rev. Jackson had not been honored as icon. And because the theme was 1968, we thought that was important. We identified Vice President Biden because of some of his human rights work and LGBTQ,” she said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden took the podium with a call to action.

“In the face of the hateful rhetoric and divisive legislation we can not remain silent.”

Freeman emphasized how there’s still much to be done.

“We want to raise awareness of the fact that first off, there are many similarities from 1968 to 2018. So we want to talk about the similarities there. And we want to continue to help people understand the work is not over.”

The evening ended with a beautiful tribute to the ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin. And all of her grandchildren were in attendance for that special moment.