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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2006, 07:58 GMT 08:58 UK
US civil rights honour for Wonder
Stevie Wonder at a tribute to Aretha Franklin in September 2006
Wonder has made over 30 US albums
Stevie Wonder has received a lifetime achievement award from America's National Civil Rights Museum.

Wonder told an audience of 5,000 in Memphis, Tennessee, that the world should "use the gifts God has given us to help those less fortunate".

Two blind students from a local school sang to Wonder, 56, after he performed a medley of hits including My Cherie Amour and I Wish.

Previous recipients of the award include Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.

'Wonderful'

Wonder clapped and smiled as the children, Caia Smith, six, and Oveante Magsby, nine, sang Ribbon in the Sky and You Are The Sunshine of My Life.

He then went to meet them on stage.

"I thought that was wonderful," said Smith's mother, Curtrice Smith.

"He told them he loved them," she added.

Wonder told the audience to "be the best you can right now".

"You must use your eyes, voices, ears. Tomorrow is never promised to any of us, " he continued.

The museum's awards were established in 1991 to pay tribute to individuals whose accomplishments depict the spirit of the civil rights movement.

Child prodigy

Wonder was signed by Motown boss Berry Gordy at the age of just 10.

Three years later he had the first Motown song to hit the US number one spot with the harmonica showcase Fingertips (Part Two).

The hits continued throughout the 1960s and early 1970s with classics including Uptight (Everything's Alright), Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) and Superstition.

Wonder had to wait until 1984 before he hit number one in the UK with I Just Called To Say I Love You.


SEE ALSO
Oprah honoured with Freedom Award
08 Jul 05 |  Entertainment
Wonder sings at Hurricane concert
30 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Wonder sings at Vandross memorial
09 Jul 05 |  Entertainment

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