National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces International Freedom Conductor Award

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) announced that it will honor late Civil Rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof with its prestigious International Freedom Conductor Award (IFCA). The IFCAs will be granted on March 2, 2013 at a gala at Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington. The IFCA is awarded semiannually by the NURFC and was last awarded in 2010.

The IFCA was created by the NURFC to recognize the contributions of contemporary individuals who, by their actions and personal examples, reflect the spirit and courageous actions of conductors on the historic Underground Railroad. Award recipients reflect positive impact on contemporary freedom issues. Previous recipients of the IFCA are Rosa Parks (1998), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2000), Dr. Dorothy Height and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights (2003), US Presidents George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton, and His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama (2010).

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who died in 2011, was a founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a leader in the US Civil Rights movement. A close ally of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he endured bombings, beatings and more than 30 arrests in his efforts to fight racial injustice and segregation in the 1950s and ’60s, most notably in Alabama. He was an organizer of the famous march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, and helped organize the Freedom Rides, which fought segregated interstate busing. In 1966, he founded and led Greater New Light Baptist Church in Cincinnati, and continued fighting against prejudice and homelessness. He is in the Ohio Civil Rights Commission Hall of Fame, and was honored by President Bill Clinton in 2001 with the Presidential Citizens Medal.

Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for the New York Times since 2001, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and co-author of the best-selling book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Through his work, he often travels to remote and dangerous parts of the globe to shed light on human rights issues that inspire others to action, including reporting on child deaths that led the Gates Foundation to focus its work on global health. When awarded his second Pulitzer Prize, Kristof was recognized for “his graphic, deeply reported columns that, at personal risk, focused attention on genocide in Darfur and that gave voice to the voiceless in other parts of the world.” Kristof’s recent Half the Sky book (co-authored with wife and journalist Sheryl WuDunn, with whom he shares his first Pulitzer Prize) has launched a movement to overcome oppression for women across the globe.

Ticket prices start at $150. For more information, call Paula Johnson at 513-333-7706.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is located at 50 E Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, visit freedomcenter.org or call 513.333.7500.

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