Abraham H. Foxman
ADL National Director
Presentation of Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize
To Clarence Page
Washington, DC - April 20, 2009
Posted: April 21, 2009
It is always a pleasure for me to have the privilege of presenting ADL’s Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize. This year marks the 38th presentation of the award.
It was established and endowed by Dwayne Andreas and the Andreas Foundation, as a tribute to his close friend, Hubert Humphrey, who in a long life dedicated to public service was mayor of Minneapolis, a distinguished senator from Minnesota, and in tumultuous times, vice-president of the United States and candidate for president.
Humphrey was also among the last of the New Deal lions, a champion of the downtrodden and an advocate for those who suffered from inequality and injustice.
He was an ardent advocate of the First Amendment. But mostly he was a voice for the voiceless and a champion of those deprived of economic or social justice.
ADL periodically awards the Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize to an institution or an individual who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the preservation and advancement of the ideals embodied in our Constitution’s First Amendment, which enshrines the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.
In a dangerous world, and at moments of national crises in particular, these principals are particularly worth defending. We present this award to enhance public awareness and understanding of these precious ideals which are fundamental to American democracy.
I am pleased to present this year’s prize to Clarence Page. Whenever we read, or watch on TV, a serious discussion on the state of our union, our democratic values, the issue of race in our society today, the role of our elected leaders or what just plain folks are thinking about, you can be sure to find Clarence Page weighing in.
A soft-spoken man, Clarence pulls no punches in his commentaries. During four decades at the Chicago Tribune, he has become recognized for the forthright and thoughtful manner in which he tackles the issues of the day, be they social, political, or race related. When Clarence Page speaks – in print, on the airwaves or online – people listen and learn.
Clarence Page began his career in journalism as a 17-year-old freelance writer and photographer for the Middletown Journal and the Cincinnati Enquirer in his native Ohio. From 1969-1980 he was a reporter and assistant city editor at the Chicago Tribune. He joined WBBM-TV where he served as a news reporter, talk show host and Director of Community Affairs before returning to The Trib.
He has been a columnist and a member of the editorial board since 1984. In 1989, he won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. His column is syndicated nationally by Tribune Media Services to more than 180 newspapers. A regular contributor of essays to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, he appears frequently on National Public Radio, CNN’s Reliable Sources, The McLaughlin Group and other news panel programs.
A longtime observer of race in America, Clarence Page’s vivid and insightful analysis and commentary are an important contribution to our national conversation on race, especially so throughout the long presidential campaign of Barack Obama, when the question was asked, “Does Race Matter?” His book, Showing My Color: Impolite Essays on Race and Identity, was published in 1996.
Clarence Page has received many other honors. Among them are the 1976 Edward Scott Beck Award for overseas reporting in South Africa, a 1989 award for commentary from the National Association of Black Journalists, and recognition from the Illinois and Wisconsin chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union for his columns on civil liberties and constitutional rights.
We are honored to present the 38th Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize to Clarence Page who epitomizes the values and ideals of our Constitution and our country.