Activists, actors, athletics honored by Obama

Aug 12, 2009 - 8:04 PM WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is presenting the nation's highest civilian honor to 16 actors, athletes, activists, scientists and humanitarians.

Among those receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony Wednesday are film star Sidney Poitier, civil rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery and tennis legend Billie Jean King.

Others being honored are retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy is getting the medal, too, but the Massachusetts Democrat is not at the White House due to his fight against brain cancer.

Posthumous awards are going to former Republican Rep. Jack Kemp of New York and gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

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