Bob Dylan, John Glenn, Toni Morrison and Madeleine Albright will be among the 13 prominent figures to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest American civilian honor, from President Barak Obama later this Spring.
Along with the musical megastar, the astronaut-turned-senator, the best-selling author and the former secretary of state, the award will go to former Justice Department official John Doar, a pivotal civil rights movement figure; William Foege, a doctor and epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox in the 1970s; the late Gordon Hirabayashi, who openly denounced the World War II-era internment of Japanese-Americans; pioneering farm worker union leader Dolores Huerta; the late Jan Karski, who fought the Nazis as a member of the Polish Underground and warned the world about the Holocaust; Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, who died in 1927; Israeli President Shimon Peres; former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens; and former University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt.
Here are their short profiles, as released by the White House:
From 1997 to 2001, under President William J. Clinton, Albright served as the 64th United States Secretary of State, the first woman to hold that position. During her tenure, she worked to enlarge NATO and helped lead the Alliance's campaign against terror and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, pursued peace in the Middle East and Africa, sought to reduce the dangerous spread of nuclear weapons, and was a champion of democracy, human rights, and good governance across the globe. From 1993 to 1997, she was America's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Since leaving office, she founded the Albright Stonebridge Group and Albright Capital Management, returned to teaching at Georgetown University, and authored five books. Albright chairs the National Democratic Institute and is President of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.
Doar was a legendary public servant and leader of federal efforts to protect and enforce civil rights during the 1960s. He served as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. In that capacity, he was instrumental during many major civil rights crises, including single-handedly preventing a riot in Jackson, Mississippi, following the funeral of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evars in 1963. Doar brought notable civil rights cases, including obtaining convictions for the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers in Neshoba County, Mississippi, and leading the effort to enforce the right to vote and implement the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He later served as Special Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary as it investigated the Watergate scandal and considered articles of impeachment against President Nixon. Doar continues to practice law at Doar Rieck Kaley & Mack in New York.