Ford Freedom Awards Gala celebrates contributions in African American history

(WXYZ) - It's an evening to celebrate the unsung contributions in African American history. The Ford Freedom Awards Gala will be held tonight at Detroit's Max Fisher Center.

It's all about the quiet heroes. The tireless, the humble, the ones whose actions spoke for themselves. And tonight, those heroes are set to find the much-deserved spotlight.

Sound check is in full effect, with just a few moments for those important finishing touches, before recognizing the quiet heroes within the fabric of African American history.

 "A quiet hero is someone who does amazing things to improve the world, but really doesn't work for the recognition," said Pamela Alexander.

The 15th Annual Ford Freedom Awards recognizes congressman John Lewis for building what he calls "the beloved community" through his dedication to human rights and civil liberties

 "You know, John Lewis said this morning to a group of children, he said ‘you really need to sometimes get in the way to make a difference. Drama can be good if drama is positive,'" said Alexander.

The gala also awards posthumous honors to Johnnie Carr, who joined Rosa Parks in organizing the Montgomery bus boycott, as well as Michigander Viola Liuzzo, killed by the Ku Klux Klan for helping blacks register to vote.

Tonight's events also include a live concert performance by Grammy nominated recording artist Eric Benet.

"We're honoring people who've given their lives and given themselves to the community, and trying to advance the youth and i'm just really happy and honored to be a part of it," said Benet.

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