Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Presidential Medal of Freedom

Jordan with the Clintons
and sisters Rose Mary (left)
and Bennie, 1994.
August 8, 2013 marks the 19th anniversary of the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Barbara Jordan.  The Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award in the United States and is not limited to just American citizens.  President Bill Clinton presented Jordan with her award in Washington with then-First Lady (now former Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton and with Jordan’s sisters Rose Mary and Bennie in attendance. 

In an interesting twist of fate, activist and former Delta Sigma Theta National President Dorothy Height also received the Medal of Freedom the same day as Jordan; forty-one years earlier, Height had signed the pledge certificate when Jordan was inducted into the Texas Southern University chapter of the Deltas as a sophomore. 
President Clinton speaks at the induction
ceremony. Dorothy Height is seated just
behind the President's right.

Jordan was very proud of her Medal of Freedom honor and felt it to be among her best accomplishments.  The Barbara Jordan Archives holds only a facsimile of the award--the original medal was buried with Jordan in 1996.

For more information about other recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, click here

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