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honors
September 20, 2018

Colin Kaepernick will receive the W.E.B. Du Bois medal from Harvard, the university's highest honor in African and African American studies, this October.

Harvard's Hutchins Center for African and African American Studies announced this year's recipients of the award, given to people "in recognition of their contributions to African and African American culture and the life of the mind," on Thursday. A total of eight people are receiving the medal this year, including comedian Dave Chapelle and artist Kehinde Wiley, who painted former President Barack Obama's official portrait.

Previous winners of the medal, named in honor of the NAACP founder and first African American to earn a Harvard doctorate, include Maya Angelou and Muhammad Ali. Kaepernick started a national conversation in 2016 after he began kneeling during the national anthem ahead of football games. A free agent who is not playing on any team, he's now the face of the latest Nike campaign, appearing in ads with the words, "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything." Catherine Garcia

January 23, 2017

Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) received four American Library Association awards on Monday, honoring the third installment of his graphic memoir, March.

Written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, March: Book Three won the Coretta Scott King Award for best African-American author; the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults; the Robert F. Silbert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children; and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. This is the first time an author has won so many ALA awards in a single year, NPR reports. March: Book Three also received a National Book Award in November. Catherine Garcia

October 27, 2016

The EU's 2016 Sakharov Prize for human rights has been awarded to Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar, two Yazidi women who escaped sexual slavery by the Islamic State.

The award is named after Andrei Sakharov, a Soviet dissident, and bestowed upon those who defend human rights. In December, Murad shared with the U.N. Security Council the terror she experienced, along with other Yazidi women and girls, when they were abducted in August 2014 after Sinjar, Iraq, fell to ISIS militants. She was raped repeatedly, and fled after three months. Bashar attempted to escape from ISIS four times, and was successful this March. With ISIS fighters following her, she was scarred and blinded in her right eye when a land mine exploded; the two people she was traveling with both died. ISIS views the Yazidi minority as being heretical, and hundreds of Yazidi women and girls who were kidnapped by ISIS are still in captivity in Syria and Iraq.

Murad and Bashar are "inspirational women who have shown incredible bravery and humanity in the face of despicable brutality," Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the European Parliament's ALDE group, said Thursday. Parliamentarian Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea said the women have fought "throughout their life. Both have impressively overcome the brutal sexual slavery that they were exposed to by jihadist terrorists and become an example for all of us." Catherine Garcia

October 24, 2016

Bill Murray accepted the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday at the Kennedy Center, joining fellow Saturday Night Live alums Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, and Eddie Murphy, who have already received the award.

Several friends and former co-stars spoke, including Steve Martin, Jimmy Kimmel, Sigourney Weaver, and David Letterman, whose late night show Murray appeared on 44 times. Murray shot to stardom on SNL and was nominated for an Oscar for Lost in Translation, but is also known for his habit of showing up out of nowhere at wedding receptions, parties, intramural games, even the White House press room.

In a sentimental moment, Murray shared that he was able to get into improv theater because of his older brother, Brian Doyle-Murray, who went to work at a young age after their father died. "My brother had more guts than anyone I ever knew, and the only reason I'm here tonight is because of the guts of my brother Brian," Murray said. "He's been waiting a long time to hear that." The ceremony will air Friday on PBS. Catherine Garcia

November 16, 2015

Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Gloria Estefan, and Stephen Sondheim are a few of the notable names who will receive the Presidential Medial of Freedom Nov. 24.

Other recipients of the White House's highest civilian honor include baseball legend Willie Mays; conductor Itzhak Perlman; singer James Taylor; music producer Emilio Estefan; NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson; Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.); veterans activist Bonnie Carroll; former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton; and former EPA administrator William Ruckelshaus. Baseball great Yogi Berra; Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress; Indian treaty rights activist Billy Frank, Jr.; and civil and human rights leader Minoru Yasui will all be honored posthumously, Variety reports. Catherine Garcia

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