Saturday, October 5th was the biennial celebration of the Roosevelts’ legacy and those who exemplify the freedoms that uphold our democracy at the historic Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum for the 2019 Four Freedoms Awards.
Citations for the 2017 Laureates:
Lonnie Bunch | The Boston Globe | Krista Tippett | Franklin Thomas | Sandy Hook Promise
Lonnie Bunch, Freedom Medal
Lonnie Bunch has dedicated his life to telling a fuller and more complex historical narrative as he illuminates forgotten stories and elevates powerful messages. Bunch is the first African American to lead the Smithsonian Institution, where he oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, research centers and educational centers. Previously, Bunch was the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. He served as president of the Chicago Historical Society and associate director of curatorial affairs at the National Museum of American History. Lonnie Bunch first began at the Simithsonian in 1978 as an educational specialist at the National Air and Space Museum.
He has written numerous books about black military history, the American presidency and museums such as Call of the Lost Dream: Essays on History, Race and Museums and A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture During the Age of Bush, Obama and Trump.
The Boston Globe, Freedom of Speech and Expression
In 2018, The Boston Globe made a call to news organizations to publish editorials in support of a free press and their critical role in democracy. Over 300 publications across the United States answered its call as they published editorials. The Boston Globe and other publications declared that journalists are not the enemy, but rather a necessary component in political news correspondence. The Boston Globe is a leader in advocating for the importance of free press and the responsibility of journalism during a politically tumultuous era.
Krista Tippett, Freedom of Worship
A leader in journalism and public thought, Krista Tippett is the founder and CEO of The On Being Project, and host of On Being, a Peabody Award-winning public radio show and podcast about the big questions of meaning. In 2014, President Barack Obama awarded her the National Humanities Medal, saying “Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of all faiths, no faith, and every background to join the conversation.”
Krista grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, attended Brown University, became a journalist and diplomat in Cold War Berlin, and later received a Master of Divinity from Yale University. Her books include Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, and Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit.
Franklin Thomas, Freedom from Want
Franklin Thomas has dedicated his life to public service, community development, and philanthropy. Thomas was the first African American President of the Ford Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. At the Ford Foundation he focused on issues relating to urban poverty, human rights and anti-apartheid initiatives.
In 1967 he was appointed as President of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation where he led efforts in job creation, community building and neighborhood redevelopment. Previously, was a New York Deputy Police Commissioner, where he oversaw legal matters and established the Civilian Complaint Review Board, and was an attorney for the Federal Housing and Home Finance Agency.
Sandy Hook Promise, Freedom from Fear
Sandy Hook Promise is a national non-profit organization founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Their mission is to prevent gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide and accidental discharge so that no other parent experiences the senseless, horrific loss of their child. Sandy Hook Promise is working to build a national movement of parents, schools and community organizations engaged and empowered to deliver gun violence prevention programs and mobilize for the passage of sensible state and national policy. Since their founding, they’ve trained over 7.5 million educators, parents, community leaders, and students. Accepting the award on behalf of Sandy Hook Promise is Co-Founder and Managing Director Mark Barden. Since the tragic killing of his son, first-grader Daniel Barden, Mark has dedicated himself to bringing people together to find sensible solutions that will prevent future tragedies.
For more information about the Awards and a list of past laureates, please click here.