SOURCE: National Civil Rights Museum

National Civil Rights Museum

August 06, 2015 16:00 ET

The National Civil Rights Museum Announces The 2015 Freedom Award

MEMPHIS, TN--(Marketwired - August 06, 2015) - Today, the National Civil Rights Museum announced recipients of The Freedom Award, the museum's signature event that honors outstanding individuals for their significant contributions to civil and human rights. This year's honoreesareRuby Bridges-Hall, activist and educator, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, civil rights movement organizer and Freedom Rider, and Ava DuVernay, highly acclaimed writer/director.

Themed "We've Come Too Far to Turn Back Now", The Freedom Award will be presented October 22, 2015 at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, followed by the Gala Dinner at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

"These women defied the odds in breaking color and gender barriers," said Terri Lee Freeman, president of the National Civil Rights Museum. "They opened doors that had long been shut and brought needed attention to societal injustices and racial inequality. We're proud to honor them with The Freedom Award."

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, is a civil rights activist and Freedom Rider who was arrested and held on death row in Mississippi's notorious Parchman Penitentiary in 1961. By the time she was 19, Mulholland had participated in a dozen sit-ins and protests. She is the first white to integrate Tugaloo College in Jackson, MS. While attending Tougaloo, she was involved in one of the most violent sit-ins at the Jackson Woolworth lunch counter in 1963. Also, while at Tougaloo, she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In 1963, Mulholland helped plan the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and stood alongside March leaders and organizers including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Robert F. Kennedy and John Lewis. The Hyde Family Foundation is sponsor of the Freedom Award for Joan Trumpauer Mulholland.

Ava DuVernay is the writer/director of the award-winning Selma, the powerful story of the historic 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery. DuVernay's Selma, which led her to becoming the first African-American female director to have a film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture as well as the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She has helped reignite a multigenerational interest in critical movements like the voting rights campaign in Selma. Her acclaimed feature Middle of Nowhere garnered her the Best Director Award at Sundance Film Festival in 2012. In 2010, she founded the independent film distribution collective now known as ARRAY. Prior to filmmaking, DuVernay provided marketing strategy and execution for more than 120 studio and network campaigns through her company, The DuVernay Agency. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as a board member of Film Independent and the Sundance Institute. FedEx Corporation is the sponsor of the Freedom Award for Ava DuVernay.

Ruby Bridges-Hall, known as the little six year-old who in 1960 integrated a New Orleans elementary school and was the subject of The Ruby Bridges Story, the movie based on her life. For the entire year, Bridges-Hall was taught in a classroom alone at the William Franz Elementary School, just a few blocks from her home. In midst of constant threats, Bridges-Hall "was a little soldier", according to the U.S marshals who protected her. Still an activist, Bridges-Hall is the founder of the Ruby Bridges Foundation, promoting the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences. Through education and inspiration, the foundation seeks to end racism and prejudice. Several books have been written about her and a depiction of her school integration was illustrated by Norman Rockwell, which hangs outside of the Oval Office in the White House. Bridges-Hall was invited to the White House by President Obama to view the painting in honor of her courageous contribution to civil rights. International Paper is the sponsor of the Freedom Award for Ruby Bridges-Hall.

The Freedom Award premiere sponsors are International Paper, the Hyde Family Foundation, FedEx Corporation and First Tennessee.

Freedom Award activities on Thursday, October 22 include the following:

10:00 a.m. -- Public Forum, Temple of Deliverance (369 G.E.Patterson)

6:30 p.m. -- Award Ceremony, Cannon Center for the Performing Arts

8:00 p.m. -- Gala Dinner, Memphis Cook Convention Center

The Public Forum is free and open to the public. Tickets and tables are available for the Freedom Award ceremony and gala event. Tables are $3,000, $4,500, $6,500, $10,000, $15,000, $25,000 and $35,000. Tables for non-profits are $2,000. Individual tickets are $200, $300, $450. To reserve tickets and tables visit or call (901) 521-1281.

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.


The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, is the only Museum of its kind in the country that gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from 1619 to the present. The Museum is intended to bring the movement to life, place the events in a historical perspective and provide a focus of national remembrance. Since the Museum opened in 1991, close to 5 million visitors from around the world have come, including more than 60,000 students annually. Recognized as a center for civil rights and social change, the Museum is steadfast in its mission to share the culture and lessons from the Movement and explore how this significant era continues to shape equality and freedom globally.

Through interactive exhibits, historic collections, storytelling, dynamic speakers and events, the Museum offers visitors a chance to walk through history and learn more about a tumultuous and inspiring period of change. Finally, the NCRM invites you to Join the Movement, take a stand and share your voice on issues that impact our society.

An internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum was recognized as 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; Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal.

Contact Information