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Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & John R. Wooden

Both men were Honored with The Presidential Medal of Freedom

Martin Luther King Jr.​

Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister and civil-rights activist who had a seismic impact on race relations in the United States, beginning in the mid-1950s. Among his many efforts, King headed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Through his activism and inspirational speeches, he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African American citizens in the United States, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among several other honors. He continues to be remembered as one of the most influential and inspirational African American leaders in history.

John R. Wooden​

One of the most revered teachers and coaches in the history of sports, Coach Wooden was beloved by his former players, among them Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton. Coach was renowned for his short, simple inspirational messages. He also created a blueprint the players could use to guide them on and off the court- the “Pyramid of Success.” This was often directed at how to be a success in life. Coach Wooden’s 29-year coaching career and overwhelmingly positive critical acclaim have created a legacy of great interest in not only sports, but in business, personal success, and organizational leadership. John Wooden is the only person to be elected into the NCAA Hall of Fame as a player and a coach.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the president of the United States to recognize people who have made an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.