Mathematician Katherine G. Johnson, Slugger Willie Mays and the Late Shirley Chisholm to Receive Presidential Medals Of Freedom

Shirley Chisholm, Willie Mays and Katherine G. Johnson (photo via GBN)
2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom Honorees Shirley Chisholm, Willie Mays and Katherine G. Johnson (photo via GBN)

Ninety-seven-year-old Katherine G. Johnson was a pioneer in American space history.  A NASA mathematician, Johnson’s computations have influenced every major space program from Mercury through the Shuttle program.

Willie Mays, 84, who ended his esteemed baseball career with 660 home runs, became the fifth all-time record-holder in the sport.

Shirley Chisholm made history in 1968 by becoming the first African-American woman elected to Congress. She helped found the Congressional Black Caucus, ran for president in 1972, and served seven terms in the House of Representatives.

Now, they are among 17 Americans who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the U.S., to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

President Barack Obama will present the awards on November 24 during a ceremony at the White House.

“I look forward to presenting these 17 distinguished Americans with our nation’s highest civilian honor,” the statement reads. “From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans.”

Chisholm’s medal will be presented posthumously.

Click here to read the complete list of award-winners.

article by Lynette Hollowayvia newsone.com; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson 

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