Respect Equality

Michelle Obama wins civil rights award

Story at a glance

  • The National Civil Rights Museum in Tennessee announced its 30th Anniversary Freedom Award recipients on Wednesday.
  • Former first lady Michelle Obama is a recipient, alongside The Poor People’s Campaign.
  • During her time as first lady, she championed girls’ education and childhood exercise and health.

The National Civil Rights Museum announced its 30th Anniversary Freedom Award will be granted to former first lady Michelle Obama.

The award, established in 1991, is awarded to Americans who have worked to advance racial equality and civil rights. Past recipients include current President Biden, writer Gloria Steinem, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., producer Ava Duverney, journalist Tom Brokaw and attorney Benjamin Crump. 

She will share the 30th anniversary award with The Poor People’s Campaign, a civil rights group inspired by the 1968 eponymous march.

Obama was selected as an honoree for the 2020 award due to her initiatives and activism in public health and working to improve girls’ access to education. She was the first African American first lady of the U.S. She also worked as a lawyer in Chicago.

“Through her four main initiatives, she has become a role model for women and an advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, and international adolescent girls’ education,” the official announcement and archived White House biography reads. 

As first lady, she also campaigned to improve public school lunches with more nutritious food selections.