Medal of Freedom, Biden

President Joe Biden Awards 19 Americans With Presidential Medal Of Freedom

The awardees included several cultural civil rights figures such as Opal Lee and Medgar Wiley Evers.

On May 3, President Joe Biden awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a host of 19 groundbreaking Americans who made moving contributions to this country. The awardees included several of his notable political allies from over the years, like former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, former Secretary of State John F. Kerry, and Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, but also several cultural civil rights figures such as Opal Lee and Medgar Wiley Evers.

With the presidential election half a year away, Biden’s list of 19 is notably heavy with big-name Democratic Party figures who were honored. Former Vice President Al Gore and former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York were both listed, while only one well-known Republican made the list: former Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina.

Biden presented the medals at a publicized White House Ceremony on Friday. According to the White House, the Presidential Medal of Freedom was created by President John F. Kennedy and “is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.” 

Any person who has taken to their field and made essential contributions “to national security, world peace or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors” was considered for the award. 

The list of 19 was rounded out with well-known figures from civil rights, sports, entertainment, and space exploration. 

The White House said in a statement announcing the awardees, “President Biden often says there is nothing beyond our capacity when we act together. These nineteen Americans built teams, coalitions, movements, organizations, and businesses that shaped America for the better. They are the pinnacle of leadership in their fields. They consistently demonstrated over their careers the power of community, hard work, and service.”

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