Clyburn Congratulates Charlie Sifford and Other Medal of Freedom Recipients

Nov 13, 2014

WASHINGTON -- Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn released the following statement after President Barack Obama named 19 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which will be awarded at a ceremony at the White House on November 24:

“I congratulate all of this year’s recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  I am especially pleased with the President’s decision to award a medal to professional golfer Charlie Sifford, the first African American player on the PGA Tour.  Last July, I organized a bipartisan letter with 64 signatures encouraging the President to consider Mr. Sifford for this honor.  Referring to Mr. Sifford as ‘the Jackie Robinson of golf,’ we wrote:

The courage of Charlie Sifford opened the gates of golf to people of color across the world.  While no award can restore the right of an athlete to compete that was unjustly denied decades ago, bestowing a Presidential Medal of Freedom upon him would rightly remember this injustice and extol the attributes of determination and persistence that enabled him to ultimately prevail.

“It is fitting that Mr. Sifford is being recognized alongside such luminaries as John Dingell and the late Patsy Takemoto Mink, whom I have had the privilege of serving with in Congress; Steve Wonder, who has used his immense musical talent to promote civil rights; and James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, who gave their lives, during the “turbulent sixties,” fighting for the rights of all Americans to participate in our democracy.  I thank each of them and all of the recipients for their remarkable contributions to our pursuit of ‘a more perfect Union.’”