WASHINGTON – Playwright, actor and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda accepted an award at the Capitol Tuesday in a room with a likeness of Alexander Hamilton, whose story Miranda brought to Broadway and who's role in history he's implanted in the American conscience.
Manuel Miranda was honored with the 2017 Freedom Award from the United States Capitol Historical Society. The society said it was given to Miranda for his creation of “Hamilton,” Miranda’s broadway smash that has won 11 Tony awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The award also recognized his work with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Hamilton Education Program. The program brings low-income high school students to the Hamilton performances for $10.
The ceremony where Miranda accepted the award was held in Statuary Hall in the Capitol, which includes a statue of Alexander, the nation’s first U.S Treasurer.
“We give him this award because of his unique ability to engage new audiences with our history and his dedication to inspiring informed civic participation,” Don Carlson, the historical society’s chair said in a statement.
Miranda was introduced by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a respected congressional member who has his own place in history for his activism in the Civil Rights Movement and role in helping make possible laws that equality for black Americans and others.
“As people have embraced the show (Hamilton), they’ve embraced the ideals, passions and struggles of our Founding Fathers, which are relevant to our country today,” Miranda said in a statement. “I could never have dreamed to be honored alongside legendary civil rights pioneers like Congressman John Lewis. I am truly grateful.”
Miranda also was using his time in Washington to promote the humanities and arts. The Washington Post reported he was to spend Wednesday visiting members of Congress with the National Humanities Alliance. He hoped to persuade them to continue $150 million a year in funding for national endowments for the arts and humanities. Trump had proposed eliminating the grants.
Members of Congress and others attended the ceremony and squeezed in selfies.
Manuel Miranda also was scheduled to receive a Medallion of Excellence from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute on Wednesday.