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WXYZ Honors Ford Freedom Award Winners

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., May 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --  WXYZ is proud to partner with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the Ford Motor Company to present " Ford Freedom Award:  Talent, Tenacity, Teamwork," honoring the New York Renaissance Basketball Team and NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the Ford Freedom Award Scholar.  The half hour special will air Saturday, May 12th at 7:00 p.m. and will be rebroadcast on Saturday, May 26th at 7:00 p.m.

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Hosted by WXYZ Editorial and Public Affairs Director Chuck Stokes, the program will feature an in-depth interview with actor, coach, author and newly selected U.S. Cultural Ambassador Abdul-Jabbar, who will be named the Ford Freedom Award Scholar.  His basketball career spanned six championships, and he received a record six regular season MVP awards.   The show will also look at the Ford Freedom Award recipient, the New York Renaissance, who were the first all-black, fully-professional African American owned team that dominated basketball in the 1920s and 30s. 

The encore of "Ford Freedom Awards: Talent, Tenacity, Teamwork" will include highlights from this year's Ford Freedom Award celebration on Thursday, May 17, featuring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's lecture to more than 1,500 Detroit area middle school students.

The Ford Freedom Award is awarded posthumously to distinguished individuals who dedicated their lives to improving the African American community and the world in general.  Previous honorees include Judge Constance Baker Motley, Ossie Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, Jackie Robinson and John H. Johnson.

The Ford Freedom Award Scholar distinction is given to individuals who have excelled on a national or international level in the same field as the Ford Freedom Award honoree and who have furthered the achievements for a new generation.  Past Scholars include Judge Damon J. Keith, Morgan Freeman, Reggie Jackson and Raymond Usher IV.

Ford Freedom Award proceeds support educational programs, exhibits, and community outreach initiatives of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience.

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