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2018 Ford Freedom Award Program All About Black Girl Magic

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2018 Ford Freedom Award winners and honorees

Ford and The Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History honored the legacy of Dr. Dorothy Irene Height and celebrated Black Girl Magic at the 20th annual Ford Freedom Award program. This year’s program consisted of a Ford Freedom Award Scholar’s Experience for middle schoolers, Height’s enshrinement in the museum’s Ring of Genealogy, and an awards ceremony.

“For 20 years, Ford has proudly partnered with the Wright Museum to celebrate and honor African-American heroes and sheroes and this year is no different,” said Pamela Alexander, director, Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “The power of Black Girl Magic, as exemplified by Dr. Height is an inspiration to young girls and women around the world. We applaud this year’s honorees for their achievements.”


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Dr. Height is considered the “godmother of the civil rights movement,” having helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington and served on the National Council of Negro Women for almost 50 years. In addition to being named a Ford Freedom Scholar in 2008, she earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.

Ford is also honoring two young women as its Ford Freedom Award Scholar and Ford Freedom Rising Star Honoree. The former is Jessica O. Matthews, who earned her MBA from Harvard Business School; is the inventor of SOCCKET, an energy-generating soccer ball; and CEO of Uncharted Power. The latter is Asia Newson, a young entrepreneur who runs a successful candle business whose proceeds have gone to benefit Detroit residents affected by homelessness.

“This year, The Wright proudly celebrates ‘Black Girl Magic,’ illuminating the achievements, strength, and beauty of women and girls,” said Juanita Moore, Museum president and CEO. “In recognizing Dorothy Height, Jessica Mathews, and Asia Newson we encourage all girls to believe in the power of their magic and live beyond the possible.”


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