WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that a Brecksville resident will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Charles Sifford was a professional golfer who helped desegregate the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) and went on to win several PGA events and the PGA Seniors’ Championship. Sifford will be honored during a ceremony at the White House on November 24.
“Charles Sifford is not only a world-class athlete, he is a civil rights leader who risked his safety for what is right,” Brown said. “Despite discrimination and threats of violence, Mr. Sifford broke barriers and laid important groundwork for future generations. He has earned this great honor.”
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Sifford won six National Negro Opens before successfully challenging the PGA’s “Caucasian only” rule – despite harassment and death threats – in 1960. He won his first PGA title in 1967 and another in 1969. Sifford was inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004.
According to the White House, the Presidential Medal of Freedom was established 50 years ago by President John F. Kennedy and is our nation’s highest civilian honor. The medal has been presented to more than 500 individuals who have made especially “meritorious contributions to the security or peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”