: Recipients of the 2003 Freedom Awards presented by the National Civil Rights Museum were former President Bill Clinton and Memphis civil rights legend Maxine Smith. They and U.S. Rep. Harold Ford (left), emcee for a Tuesday afternoon public forum at the Temple of the Deliverance, stood at attention for a singing of the Star Spangled Banner. The afternoon event was followed by an evening awards banquet at The Peabody.
At both events, Clinton made a point of saying, "I hope I live long enough to vote for Harold Ford." (The African-American congressman, who is eying a Senate run in 2006, has been widely touted as a likely future candidate for national office.)
Ford reciprocated at the afternoon event, calling Clinton "great" and, presumably on behalf of the large contingent of fellow African Americans on hand, saying, "He's our
president, and, as much as I love our president now, I sure do miss those visits to the Oval Office!"
Both men praised Smith, the former head of the Memphis-area NAACP and a longtime member of the city's school board, for her contributions to the cause of civil rights.