Rep. John Lewis Roberts was one of America's great civil rights leaders. The son of sharecroppers, he was brutally beaten by police during a 1965 march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama, but refused to stand down in the face of systematic racism and oppression. He went on to become a champion for civil rights and non-violent activism, and spent the next five decades of his career fighting to protect and defend the dignity and worth of every human being. In recognition of his many years of fighting on the frontlines for equality and justice, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2011.
NOTE: This nomination was The American Awards' first posthumous nomination.