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Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 11:32am

Atlanta Civil Rights Icon Gets Medal of Freedom

An Atlanta civil rights icon who worked alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped lead the Montgomery bus boycott is in Washington Wednesday to receive the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

The Rev. Joseph Lowery, 87, delivered the benediction at Obama's inauguration in January and now joins 15 others who will be honored in a ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.

Lowery, a Huntsville, Ala., native who led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for two decades, will be honored alongside Billie Jean King, retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Lowery said he doubts he'll have much of a chance to do that Wednesday amid the celebration, though he would like to discuss health care reform, the war in Afghanistan and remaining vacancies in the administration that Obama has yet to fill with the president.

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