Civil rights activist Sylvia Méndez from California received the highest civilian honor in the country on Tuesday.
President Barack Obama awarded Méndez and 14 other recipients the Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House. Obama said the recipients represent, "the best of who we are and who we aspire to be."
As a child Méndez was denied access to an all white school. Her parents sued and prevailed in Mendez v. Westminster, a landmark decision in the Civil Rights movement against segregation.
The Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor, and is presented to people who have made important contributions to U.S. national security, world peace, culture or other significant public or private endeavors.