President Obama will be awarding 19 individuals with the highest civilian honor in America, ranging from singers to civil rights activists to Oscar-winning actresses.
Among the honorees representing the arts world are Stevie Wonder, Stephen Sondheim, Meryl Streep, actress Marlo Thomas, Tom Brokaw, writer and activist Suzan Harjo, and author Isabel Allende. Streep and Sondheim are particularly timely honorees, considering the film adaptation of Sondheim’s Into the Woods stars Streep and arrives in theaters on Dec. 25.
The other honorees include professional golfer Charles Sifford, who helped to desegregate the Professional Golfers’ Association, economist Robert Solow, scientist Mildred Dresselhaus, and Ethel Kennedy. Several political representatives will also be honored: John Dingell, Abner Mikva, and Patsy Takemoto Mink.
There will also be five posthumous medals awarded to activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, choreographer and dancer Alvin Ailey, and Edward R. Roybal.
The Medal of Freedom will be awarded to all the honorees at a ceremony on Nov. 24 at the White House.