Oprah’s Civil Rights Legends Gala – “Legends Who Paved The Way” – honored legends of the civil rights movement (2014).
Honorees included Ambassador Andrew Young, Berry Gordy, Rev. C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash, Dick Gregory, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Juanita Jones Abernathy, Julian Bond, Marian Wright Edelman, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Quincy Jones, Sidney Poitier, and Harry Belafonte. Other guests included Ellen DeGeneres, Deion Sanders, Alfre Woodard, George Lucas, Gayle King, Iyanla Vanzant, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Magic Johnson, Maria Shriver, Phylicia Rashad, Rashida Jones, Reese Witherspoon, Jimmy Iovine, Robin Roberts, Roland Martin, Samuel L. Jackson, and Smokey Robinson, among many others.
The O’Jays played R&B classics and the cast of Selma read Pearl Cleage’s celebratory poem ‘We Speak Your Names,’ which served as the centerpiece to Oprah's first Legends Ball (2005).
“Cleage considers the poem a continuation of an oral tradition that encompasses the entire history of the African-American experience. The praise poem acknowledges the legacy of those who have gone before and a realization "that we are part of something better, truer, deeper." (Pearl Cleage, Zaron W. Burnett Jr.) (Legends Weekend 2 (2014) • PART 1/3) ...