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BHM GALLERY: Notable Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor a civilian can receive in the United States.  Recipients range from activists, athletes,  scientists, entertainers, religious leaders, journalists and many more.

A number of African Americans have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Here's a gallery of recent recipients.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Diana Ross during an East Room ceremony at the White House November 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to actress Cicely Tyson during an East Room ceremony at the White House November 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to National Basketball Association Hall of Fame member and legendary athlete Michael Jordan during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to National Basketball Association all-time leading scorer and social justice advocate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President Barack Obama presents Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to singer songwriter Stevie Wonder (R) during an East Room ceremony at the White House November 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to C.T. Vivian in the East Room at the White House on November 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Hall of Fame baseball player Ernie Banks in the East Room at the White House on November 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Oprah Winfrey in the East Room at the White House on November 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

 

Novelist Toni Morrison is presented with a Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama during an East Room event May 29, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President Barack Obama presents poet and author Maya Angelou with the 2010 Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) presents Baseball Hall of Fame member and human rights advocate Bill Russell the 2010 Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) presents the Medal of Freedom to Sidney Poitier during a ceremony at the White House August 12, 2009 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) presents the Medal of Freedom to civil rights pioneer Reverend Joseph E. Lowery during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House August 12, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

Aretha L. Franklin and President George W. Bush at the Freedom Awards Ceremony at the White House in Washington D.C. on November 9, 2005. (Photo by Douglas A. Sonders/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President George W. Bush presents former heavy weight boxing champion Muhammad Ali (L) with the Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on November 9, 2005 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

 

U.S. President George W. Bush presents baseball great Hank Aaron with the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award during a ceremony July 9, 2002 at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)