SOURCE: National Civil Rights Museum

National Civil Rights Museum

November 21, 2014 18:08 ET

National Civil Rights Museum: Michael Eric Dyson Joins the 2014 Freedom Award as Master of Ceremonies

Black Violin Is the Headline Entertainment

MEMPHIS, TN--(Marketwired - November 21, 2014) - Author, educator and commentator Michael Eric Dyson will host The Freedom Award on December 2 at the Cannon Center in Memphis, TN. Presented by the National Civil Rights Museum, The Freedom Award celebrates individuals for their significant contributions toward the achievement of civil and human rights and for their dedication to creating opportunity for the disenfranchised. 

Named by Essence magazine as one of the 50 most inspiring African Americans in the U.S., Dyson is a best-selling author and one of the nation's most renowned intellectuals. Called a "street fighter in a suit and tie," he takes on the toughest and most controversial issues of the day, including race, politics and pop culture, with his fearless and fiery rhetoric. As a cutting-edge historian with a powerful voice, Dyson reaches beyond race to bridge the gap between generations by connecting civil rights identity to hip-hop culture.

One of Dyson's many books includes April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Death and How It Changed America in which he "ambitiously investigates the ways in which African-Americans have in fact made it to the Promised Land of which King spoke, while shining a bright light on the ways in which the nation has faltered in the quest for racial justice." Dyson is an MSNBC political analyst, professor of sociology at Georgetown University and former host of NPR's "The Michael Eric Dyson Show."

Also joining the Freedom Award show is Black Violin as the headline entertainment. Wil B and Kev Marcus are classically trained viola and violin players who are a welcome revelation for their ability to meld highbrow and pop culture. Together, their two different styles form Black Violin.

The duo first met playing in the high school orchestra and after college teamed up as a groundbreaking collaboration that has allowed them to collaborate with artists such as P. Diddy, Kanye West, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin and the Eagles. Black Violin has performed for everybody from the troops in Iraq to the official President's Inaugural Ball to the approval of President Barack Obama. They also accompanied Alicia Key's 2004 Billboard Award performance.

The 2014 Freedom Award, themed "Breaking Barriers, Advancing Freedom," will honor international journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, baseball hall of famer Frank Robinson, civil rights activist Robert Parris Moses and renowned TV journalist Tom Brokaw for their contributions to the advancement of civil and human rights worldwide.

Freedom Award activities on Tuesday, December 2 include the following:

10:00 a.m. Public Forum Temple of Deliverance
6:30 p.m. Award Ceremony Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
8:00 p.m. Gala Dinner Memphis Cook Convention Center

For more information visit

About the Freedom Award
The Freedom Award is an annual event presented by the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis TN. Since 1991, the Freedom Award has served as a symbol of the ongoing fight for human rights both in America and worldwide. Recipients are celebrated for their tireless contributions in civil and human rights, education, the arts, sports & community service, justice and for their dedication to creating opportunity for the disenfranchised. 

The Public Forum is an event focused on area youth and features remarks from Freedom Award honorees. The Keepers of the Dream award is given to local youth who have demonstrated acts of compassion, leadership, courage and service.

About the National Civil Rights Museum
The National Civil Rights Museum located at the Lorraine Motel, the assassination site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., chronicles key episodes of the American Civil Rights Movement and the legacy of this movement to inspire participation in civil and human rights efforts globally, through its collections, exhibitions and educational programs.

An internationally acclaimed tourist attraction, the Museum was voted third among USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids and Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today.

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