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US President Barack Obama and singer and actress Barbra Streisand at a Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 24, 2015. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)


Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to six women

November 29, 2015

In case you missed it in all the Thanksgiving activity, last week President Obama awarded six women the highest civilian honor in the U.S., the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Here’s a quick look at those awarded:

Bonnie Carroll, a former major in the Air Force reserve, founded the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) after the death of her husband in a plane crash. TAPS provides support, therapy, and mental health treatment to those who lose loved ones serving in the armed forces.

Shirley Chisholm, who died in 2005, won a seat in the House as a New York Democrat in 1968 under the slogan: “Unbought and Unbossed.” She was the first African-American woman elected to congress, and while running for president in 1972 became the first African-American to run for a major-party presidential nomination. Chisholm was a founding member of what would become the Congressional Black Caucus.

Gloria Estefan, an icon of latin music, rose to fame as lead singer of husband Emilio Estefan’s band, Miami Sound Machine. By the ’80s and ’90s, the singer was in the vanguard of a booming Latin music scene.

Katherine G. Johnson, 97, an African-American research mathematician for NASA, calculated the flight of the first American in space and Apollo 11’s successful trip to the moon.

Barbara Mikulski, the first Democratic woman to serve in both houses of Congress and the first woman to win a statewide senatorial election in Maryland, is the longest-serving woman in the history of the Congress. Mikulski has announced she will retire in 2017. Mikulski championed equal pay and women’s health during her 44 years of public service.

Barbra Streisand, a winner of Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, and a Tony, began her career as a performer at a nightclub in 1961 and became famous as singer and star of Yentl and Funny Girl.

Our warmest congratulations to all.

Read the full story at The New York Times and hear from each of the recipients in her own voice at NPR.