Magic Johnson Wins Civil Rights Award
Tuesday, July 24, 2007; 5:51 PM
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Former NBA star Magic Johnson leads the list of people named Tuesday as recipients of the National Civil Rights Museum's annual Freedom Awards.
Also named were historian John Hope Franklin and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
The museum, on the site where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, will hand out the awards Oct. 23. It said it was honoring Johnson for his work since leaving the NBA on promoting economic development, improved health care and educational opportunities in low-income urban neighborhoods and other "underserved communities."
Johnson, 47, retired from the NBA after contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and campaigned for AIDS awareness. His Magic Johnson Foundation supports HIV/AIDS prevention and health care education in low-income communities.
"A committed philanthropist, Johnson continually finds time to support worthy causes," the museum said.
Franklin, 92, a chronicler of civil rights history, was part of a legal team from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that helped develop the Brown v. Board of Education case. The case led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing racial segregation in public schools.
Johnson-Sirleaf, 67, was inaugurated in January as president of Liberia.
Known as the "iron lady," she is her country's first elected female president. She was named by Forbes Magazine last year as one of the "100 Most Powerful Women in the World."