Ten people will receive the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on Dec. 15, the White House announced Thursday.
This year's recipients include blues musician B.B. King, presidential historian David McCullough and the late John "Buck" O'Neil, a Negro League star and the first black major league baseball coach.
Others to be honored:
- Natan Sharansky, a Soviet dissident and gulag prisoner.
- Norman Y. Mineta, the former congressman and secretary of transportation.
- Literacy advocate Ruth Johnson Colvin, who has traveled the globe teaching people to read.
- Longtime Xavier University of Louisiana president Norman C. Francis, who played a lead role in helping Gulf Coast recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
- British historian and journalist Paul Johnson.
- Prominent writer and New York Times commentator William Safire.
- Nobel Prize-winning scientist Joshua Lederberg.