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Morrison, Dylan Among Medal of Freedom Recipients

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Toni Morrison speaking at 'A Tribute to Chinua Achebe - 50 Years Anniversary of 'Things Fall Apart''. The Town Hall, New York City, February 26th 2008. Toni Morrison speaking at "A Tribute to Chinua Achebe - 50 Years Anniversary of 'Things Fall Apart'". The Town Hall, New York City, February 26th 2008. (Angela Radulsecu/Wikipedia Commons)

A Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, the first female secretary of state, a former astronaut and a musical pioneer are among this year's recipients of the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

President Barack Obama will award the medals at the White House later this spring.

Among this year's recipients are Pulitzer Prize-winner Toni Morrison; former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the first woman to hold the nation's top diplomatic post; John Glenn, the third American in space and the first American to orbit the Earth; and legendary musician Bob Dylan.

In a statement, Obama said of the honorees: "They've challenged us, they've inspired us and they've made the world a better place."

Among the other honorees:

— John Doar, civil rights attorney.

— William Foege, physician who led the campaign to eradicate smallpox.

— Gordon Hirabayashi, openly defied the forced relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

— Dolores Huerta, civil rights workers and women's advocate.

— Jan Karski, officer in the Polish Underground during World War II and one of the first people to provide accounts of the Holocaust to the world.

— Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts.

— Shimon Peres, Israeli president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

— John Paul Stevens, former Supreme Court Justice.

— Pat Summitt, former women's basketball coach at the University of Tennessee.

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