John Legend, Hafsat Abiola and Gloria Steinem honored with 2019 Freedom Award

WATCH: John Legend, Hafsat Abiola and Gloria Steinem honored with 2019 Freedom Award

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Wednesday night, the National Civil Rights museum recognized three outstanding champions of civil and human rights – John Legend, Hafsat Abiola and Gloria Steinem.

Honorees are selected for their many achievements and contributions to a national and global scale in the name of equality, social justice and freedom for all.

This year’s honorees brought a global message about the need for the continued fight for equality and democracy for all.

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Award-winning singer, song writer and philanthropist John Legend represented the new solider in the movement.

He has founded an organization to reform the criminal justice and education system.

John Legend told FOX13, "It’s so important that we remember our legacy and remember the people that paved the way for us to be where we are in Memphis. It’s so critical for us understanding that legacy."

When accepting the award, Legend reflected on the nation's current state of distress saying, 'Brown versus Board may be the law of the land but it is no secret that black kids and white kids are not getting the same education,” said Legend.

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Nigerian born Hafsat Abiola dedicated her life fighting for democracy for her native Nigeria and the continent of Africa.

Educated in the United States, she spoke about the common bond between Africans and African Americans to rid the vestiges of slavery.

Her presenter described her as a constant change maker.

“We feel your every struggle, and we celebrate your every success,” said Abiola.

85-year-old Gloria Steinem, the veteran among the honorees with 50 years of advocating for woman’s rights, spoke of her connection to Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, their meetings and how he influenced her life.

“I cannot think of any other honor that would mean as much,” said Steinem.