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New platform, new media format, no problem

  • Written by Dorothy Bracy Alston
For the first time, the Freedom Awards ceremony was set to be televised on PBS, airing in January. Anyone in event planning and logistics knows it’s no easy feat to plan, coordinate and successfully execute the activities of 19 high profile celebrities and their associates, but that is what the National Civil Rights Museum staff, its dedicated volunteers and sponsors just pulled off.

 Junior journalist Dwight Moore II added Grammy Award winner Kirk Whalum, president/CEO of Memphis’ Soulsville Foundation, to his growing list of interviewees. (Courtesy photo)

With a new platform, new format, along with celebrating a landmark 20 years as a national treasure and three days of shuffling honorees to designated places at designated times, it required precision planning and coordination.

From private tours of the Civil Rights Museum to helping award winning actor and activism awardee Danny Glover find the perfect Memphis barbeque, Museum Director Beverly Robertson and her staff turned the 20-year anniversary into a Hollywood-styled event.

The tasks included handling changes to media admissions – changes that came with the territory when, for the first time, the Freedom Awards ceremony was set to be televised on PBS, airing in January.

New elements in the media mix included three-year-old Internet force WRUG radio, with 2.5 million listeners nationally and internationally. And then there was eleven-year-old junior journalist, Dwight Moore II, who was a red carpet show-stopper.

Almost every celebrity stopped to chat with the dynamic Moore, whose career began at age five. Moore, accompanied by his mother, Geneva Simpson Moore, has interviewed a slew of prominent celebrities, including former U.S. Secretaries of State: Madeleine Albright (who still corresponds with him) and Condoleeza Rice; retired General and former Secretary of State, Colin Powell; and now Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, then a New York Senator.

Breath, because the list goes on: Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.); Sen. Christopher Dodd, (D-Conn.); Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.); civil rights icon, the Rev. Jesse Jackson; talk show host Tavis Smiley; and many more.

In an interview with The New Tri-State Defender, Geneva Moore said as soon as her son began showing an interest, she and her husband, Dr. Dwight Moore Sr., committed to doing all they could to nurture and support promote his interest.

“I’m honored to be here because of the legacy of the movement,” said the young Moore, a sixth-grade student at Central Day School in Collierville.

“I’m speechless.”

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