Posted in Black History

Bryan Stevenson Awarded National Humanities Medal

Yesterday President Joe Biden presented EJI director Bryan Stevenson with the National Humanities Medal, honoring Mr. Stevenson “for his moral call to redeem the soul of our Nation.” The award recognizes EJI’s legal work on behalf of people sentenced to death and children prosecuted as adults as well as EJI’s public history work, which teaches people about our nation’s history of racial injustice and its legacy today.

EJI director Bryan Stevenson was one of 23 artists, writers, scholars, and advocates honored Tuesday at the White House with the 2021 National Humanities Medals and the National Medal of Arts.

President Joe Biden presented 11 recipients, including Mr. Stevenson, with the National Humanities Medal, which honors “individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities and broadened our citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects.”

Mr. Stevenson was honored “for his moral call to redeem the soul of our Nation,” reads the White House citation. “An advocate fighting tirelessly for the poor, incarcerated, and condemned, Bryan Stevenson follows the Book of Micah’s instruction to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly as he chronicles the legacy of lynching and racism in America, shining a light on what has been and all that we can be as a Nation.”

The award recognizes the work of EJI, which for more than 30 years has provided legal representation to people sentenced to death, children prosecuted as adults, and people who have been abused and treated unfairly in the criminal legal system.

The medal also honors EJI’s public history work, including our Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, where visitors can learn about our nation’s history of racial injustice and how its legacy informs effective approaches to addressing inequality and injustice today.

The list of recipients includes Johnnetta Betsch Cole, the first female African American president of Spelman College, historian Earl Lewis, Native American academic Henrietta Mann, and authors Amy Tan and Colson Whitehead.

President Biden also presented the National Medal of the Arts—the nation’s highest award for artists—to 12 recipients, including Gladys Knight, Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Bruce Springsteen, and Jose Feliciano.

This was President Biden’s first time hosting the awards ceremony, which was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Patricia Thomas and I visited the Museums in my hometown of Montgomery, Alabama and also toured historical site of Tuskegee University (my husband’s alma mater) and various sites on campus. I encourage everyone to visit the two museums in Montgomery, Alabama. We stayed three days but Lord willing, on my next trip I plan to be there for a week or two since there are so many changes in the city since I moved away in 2008. My last day on the job, December 30, 2023, cannot come soon enough.


Versatile Christian Blogger, wife of Minister Woods, mother of 3, grandmother of 3.

2 thoughts on “Bryan Stevenson Awarded National Humanities Medal

  1. Congratulations to Mr. Stevenson. I wonder if that call to duty includes him being able to put all this history of the works that he is re-uncovering and allow it to be added into the public school systems to be included in curriculums as well as Museums.
    That would undoubtedly be an honor added to his hard work!

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    1. Sadly, the little-known Black history that has been allowed in textbooks is being removed especially in southern states–at least the most important information with our state leading the removal of it. We, Black people, are too busy killing one another to have movements like the ones our ancestors had with the courage to make stands in harsh conditions and risking their lives for equality. The thanks many Black Americans are showing them now is the increase stats of Black-of-Black crimes–killing one another including many innocent people including children. I know some people do not agree with me saying this, but I speak truth regardless of who it is. Wrong is wrong regardless of who is doing it.

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