Alvin Ailey to Receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom

11.10.14
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Today, President Barack Obama named eighteen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Artistic Director Robert Battle will accept the Medal on behalf of Alvin Ailey at the Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony at the White House on Monday, November 24, 2014. 

President Obama said, “I look forward to presenting these 18 bold, inspiring Americans with our Nation’s highest civilian honor.  From activists who fought for change to artists who explored the furthest reaches of our imagination; from scientists who kept America on the cutting edge to public servants who help write new chapters in our American story, these citizens have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world.”

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's annual season at New York City Center begins December 3, 25 years after the legendary founder’s passing.  The New York engagement continues for five-weeks during the holidays through January 4th, and then Ailey’s extraordinary dancers will travel coast-to-coast on an 18-city National tour from February through May.

The following individuals will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

Alvin Ailey (posthumous)
Ailey was a choreographer, dancer, and the founder of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which is renowned for its inspiring performances in 71 countries on 6 continents since 1958.  Ailey’s work was groundbreaking in its exploration of the African American experience and the enrichment of the modern dance tradition, including his beloved American masterpiece Revelations.  The Ailey organization, based in New York City, carries on his pioneering legacy with performances, training, educational, and community programs for people of all backgrounds.

Isabel Allende
Tom Brokaw
James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner (posthumous)
Mildred Dresselhaus
John Dingell
Suzan Harjo
Abner Mikva
Patsy Takemoto Mink 
Edward Roybal (posthumous)
Charles Sifford
Robert Solow
Stephen Sondheim
Meryl Streep
Marlo Thomas 
Stevie Wonder

Read more about all of the recipients.