Rosa Parks among 11 to get Presidential Medal of Freedom
September 6, 1996
Web posted at: 5:00 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent Claire Shipman
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The woman who was a pioneer of the civil
rights movement and the press secretary under President
Reagan who was shot during an assassination attempt on his
boss are among 11 Americans who will receive the nation's
highest civilian award.
President Clinton choose civil rights leaders, social
activists and business leaders to receive the 1996
Presidential Medal of Freedom. They will be honored at a
White House ceremony September 9.
While serving as President Reagan's White House press
secretary, Brady was shot and partially paralyzed during the
1981 assassination attempt on the nation's chief executive.
Brady and his wife, Sarah, have since become gun control
advocates who led the effort to pass the Brady Handgun
Violence Prevention Act.
Fuller is founder and president of Habitat for Humanity, a
nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing for
low-income families. Habitat is celebrating its 20th
anniversary this year.
Hamburg, a psychiatrist, is a children's advocate and
president of the Carnegie Foundation. He was a leader in the
push for the Family and Medical Leave Act.
John H. Johnson
As an executive of Johnson Publishing Co., which produces the
African-American magazines Ebony and Jet, Johnson has worked
to break negative black stereotypes and build self-esteem in
the black community.
Lang founded the I Have a Dream Foundation, a college
scholarship and mentoring program for underprivileged
children. In 1981, he adopted a 6th-grade class in East
Harlem, promising to cover the costs of college for any child
who graduated from high school. Three-fourths of the class
accepted the offer and won scholarships.
Nowak-Jezioranski, national director of the Polish-American
Congress, has devoted his life to freedom and democracy.
During World War II, he was member of the Polish underground.
He went on to direct Radio Free Europe's Polish service for
A founder of several organizations dedicated to serving the
Puerto Rican community, Pantoja worked to promote community
development in Latino neighborhoods. In 1961, he helped found
ASPIRA, an organization promoting education and leadership
training for Latino youth.
- Rosa Parks
On December 1, 1955, Parks, a black seamstress, defied a
local segregation ordinance by refusing to give her seat on a
city bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, and move to
the back of the vehicle. Her actions sparked a bus boycott,
one of the highlights of the civil rights movement, that
eventually brought about desegregation of public
transportation. The case also launched a wave of protest that
ultimately tore down segregation laws across the South.
Sagan was tortured and nearly killed by Dictator Benito
Mussolini's Black Brigade 50 years ago. Since then, he has
fought human rights abuses around the world and founded the
first West Coast chapter of Amnesty International.
A World War II veteran and former professional basketball
player, Udall served Arizona for 30 years in the House of
Representatives. He resigned from the House in 1991 with
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