WXYZ honors Ford Freedom Award winners

(WXYZ) - WXYZ-TV is proud to partner with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the Ford Motor Company to present "Ford Freedom Award:  Quiet Heroes," honoring civil rights activist Johnnie R. Carr, and Congressman John Lewis as the Ford Freedom Award Scholar. 

A special humanitarian award will be presented posthumously to Michigander Viola Liuzzo.  

The half-hour special will air Saturday, May 4th at 7:00 p.m. on Channel 7 and will be rebroadcast on Sunday, May 19th at 11:00 a.m.

Hosted by WXYZ Editorial and Public Affairs Director Chuck Stokes, the program will feature an in-depth interview with Ford Freedom Award Scholar, Congressman John Lewis, who has dedicated his life to protecting human rights and securing civil liberties. 

Ford Freedom Award honoree Johnnie R. Carr was a childhood friend of Rosa Parks and was instrumental in organizing the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott.  She was also President of the Montgomery Improvement Association for more than 40 years.  Ford Freedom Humanitarian Award recipient Viola Liuzzo was killed by the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama in 1965 while helping African Americans register to vote.

The encore broadcast of "Ford Freedom Awards: Quiet Heroes" will include highlights from this year's Ford Freedom Award celebration on Friday, May 10th at the Max M. Fisher Music Center.  The evening will include a reception and an awards ceremony, along with a special performance by Grammy Award-nominated singer and songwriter Eric Benet. 

The Ford Freedom Award is presented posthumously to distinguished individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving the African American community and the world in general.  Previous honorees include; Judge Constance Baker Motley, Ossie Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, Jackie Robinson and John H. Johnson.

The Ford Freedom Award Scholar distinction is given to individuals who have excelled on a national or international level in the same field as the Ford Freedom Award honoree, and who have furthered the achievements for a new generation.  Past Scholars include; Judge Damon J. Keith, Morgan Freeman, Reggie Jackson and Raymond Usher IV.


Ford Freedom Award proceeds support educational programs, exhibits, and community outreach initiatives of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience.

For more information about the Ford Freedom Award, visit wxyz.com.

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