CINCINNATI – Four modern-day freedom conductors were recognized Saturday evening at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s International Freedom Conductor Awards. Amal and George Clooney, Bryan Stevenson and the late Congressman John Lewis joined the ranks of past award recipients and social justice icons Rosa Parks, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and more.
The International Freedom Conductor Award is the Freedom Center’s highest honor. The award recognizes the contributions of contemporary individuals who, by their actions and personal examples, reflect the spirit and courageous actions of conductors on the historic Underground Railroad, the nation’s original social justice movement. The inaugural award was presented to Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks in 1998. Since then, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dorothy Height, Robert F. Kennedy Foundation, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, Nicolas Kristof, Lech Walesa, Nelson Mandela and Judge Nathaniel Jones have received the honor.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org