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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July, 2005, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
Oprah honoured with Freedom Award
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey's talk show is seen in 112 countries worldwide
Talk show host Oprah Winfrey has been named as one of the recipients of the National Civil Rights Museum's prestigious Freedom Award.

The 51-year-old was called "a great humanitarian" and applauded for her foundation which raises money to help children in Africa.

Paul Rusesabagina, whose story was told in the Oscar-nominated film Hotel Rwanda, wins the international prize.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Memphis later this year.


Museum director Beverly Robertson said of Winfrey: "She has provided resources and money to build schools for at least 50,000 children in South Africa.

"That is phenomenal. She doesn't have to do that," added Ms Robertson.

Paul Rusesabagina
Paul Rusesabagina was played by Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda

Rusesabagina, who was played by Oscar-nominated Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda, was also praised.

"The world turned a deaf ear and closed its eyes to what was happening in Rwanda," said Ms Robertson.

"But he stepped up, even at the potential expense of his own life," she added.

Civil rights

For the first time, a lifetime achievement honour will be presented to actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee, awarded alongside her late husband Ossie Davies.

Davies, who died in February, was a producer, actor, film director and screen writer and playwright during his 65-year career.

Previous recipients of the Freedom Award have included former US presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Past winners of the international award have included former South African president Nelson Mandela and U2 frontman Bono.

The honours are given out annually to individuals who have worked to advance the cause of civil rights.

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