The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to scientists, artists, and thinkers, but the award also honors those who have shaped our culture from the stage and the screen, like actress Cicely Tyson.
“In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the whole course of history. Cicely was never the likeliest of Hollywood stars. The daughter of immigrants from the West Indies, she was raised by a hardworking and religious mother who cleaned houses and forbade her children to attend the movies. But once she got her education and broke into the business, Cicely made a conscious decision not just to say lines, but to speak out.” —President Obama, 2016