Alvin Ailey And Stephen Sondheim To Be Among 2014 Medal Of Freedom Honorees

Late dance legend Alvin Ailey and Broadway superstar Stephen Sondheim will be among this year’s Presidential Medal Of Freedom honorees.

Among the honorees representing the arts world are Stevie Wonder, Stephen Sondheim, Meryl Streep, actress Marlo Thomas, Tom Brokaw, writer and activist Suzan Harjo, and author Isabel Allende. Streep and Sondheim are particularly timely honorees, considering the film adaptation of Sondheim’s Into the Woods stars Streep and arrives in theaters on Dec. 25. The other honorees include professional golfer Charles Sifford, who helped to desegregate the Professional Golfers’ Association, economist Robert Solow, scientist Mildred Dresselhaus, and Ethel Kennedy. Several political representatives will also be honored: John Dingell, Abner Mikva, and Patsy Takemoto Mink. There will also be five posthumous medals awarded to activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, choreographer and dancer Alvin Ailey, and Edward R. Roybal.

Ailey died of AIDS in 1989. Cheney, Goodman, and Schwerner were the three civil rights activists murdered in 1964 by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. The Presidential Medal Of Freedom is the highest honor granted to any American civilian. (Tipped by JMG reader Peter)

RELATED: Among the 2013 Medal Of Freedom posthumous honorees were astronaut Sally Ride and civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. Both of their medals were presented by President Obama to their surviving partners as an off-screen announcer recounted their contributions to LGBT history.