2020 Freedom Award Honoree: Dr. Carla Hayden

2020 Freedom Award Honoree: Dr. Carla HaydenUSCHS is delighted to announce the 2020 Freedom Award honoree: Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress. Dr. Hayden will accept the award during a virtual ceremony on December 9, 2020.

Under Dr. Hayden’s leadership, the Library of Congress has worked to expand the accessibility and usability of its unparalleled resources. The thorough and thoughtful digitization of historic artifacts and documents has allowed more people than ever before to utilize primary sources in research—and the value of universal access has never been more evident than during the current public health emergency.

Dr. Hayden and the Library of Congress responded with energy and creativity to the pandemic, advancing the public programs of the LoC despite the limitations of social distancing. In addition to its research holdings, the Library offers high-quality online exhibitions covering topics from Rosa Parks to Comic Art, and impactful projects like the Veterans History Project. Perhaps the most daunting task? Reimagining the National Book Festival as a digital event without losing its immediacy and range. This year’s festival featured over 100 authors, including best-selling novelists, poets, historians, and children’s authors including Colson Whitehead, Joy Harjo, Jon Meacham, and Mo Willems.

Democracy itself stands on the shoulders of reliable, factual, universally available sources of information. Under Dr. Hayden’s forward-thinking leadership, the Library of Congress works tirelessly every day to advance public understanding of and appreciation for freedom through making the Library’s vast and diverse collections accessible to its users throughout the country.

The award ceremony will be emceed by USCHS President and CEO Jane Campbell. Program participants include:

  • Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi
  • Senator Roy Blunt
  • Senator Ben Cardin
  • Author and Historian Jon Meacham
  • Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie G. Bunch III
  • Archivist of the United States David Ferriero
  • United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo
  • Former Senator Barbara Mikulski

…and a few surprises!

This virtual event is free and open to the public


2020 Freedom Award Ceremony honoring Dr. Carla Hayden

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

6:00-7:30 PM (EST)


About the Freedom Award:

The U.S. Capitol Historical Society created its Freedom Award to recognize and honor individuals and organizations that have advanced greater public understanding and appreciation for freedom as represented by the U.S. Capitol and Congress. The Freedom Award was first presented on September 17, 1993, the eve of the 200th anniversary of the laying of the U.S. Capitol cornerstone by George Washington in 1793. This award, named for the statue that graces the Capitol’s Dome, is presented annually in recognition of the dedication of recipients to freedom, democracy, and representative government. Past Freedom Award recipients include Congressman John Lewis, Cokie Roberts, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. View the full list of distinguished recipients here.