19th Annual Ford Freedom Award

Every year, the Ford Freedom Award is presented to African Americans who have been influential in the arts community. Ford paired up with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History to decide on 2017’s winner of the Ford Freedom Award.

This year’s theme for the awards was, “Talents That Unite! African Americans Bring Diverse Communities Together Across America.” The theme aimed to acknowledge the impact that talented artists have had on the arts community.

The 2017 Ford Freedom Award went to the playwright August Wilson. While Wilson is no longer living, the vitality of his work, primarily his play Fences, has had in the theatre community and African American community continues to remain powerful.

Animator Floyd Norman was named the Ford Freedom Award Scholar, an award that’s given to current talents in the arts community who are making a difference. Floyd Norman is the first African American hired at Disney, and has since become an award-winning animator. He helped create Vignette Films, a company that produces black history films that are shown in high schools.

The amazing success of both Wilson and Norman doesn’t only inspire those in the art community, but inspires all of us to be courageous and never give up on our dreams.

We at Mangold Ford are in awe of these talented artists and proud of Ford’s continued celebration of the arts.