The nation’s defense secretary and a pioneering social justice activist are among new members inducted Thursday into the Alabama Academy of Honor.

The Academy honors 100 living Alabamians for their accomplishments and service to the state and nation. The ceremony included honorees for 2020 because that year’s ceremony was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 honorees are: Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson, former U.S. Congressman Jo Bonner, retired Maj. Gen. J. Gary Cooper, a decorated Vietnam veteran and the first Black officer in the Marine Corps to lead an infantry company into combat.

The 2021 honorees are U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Huntsville attorney Julian Butler, retired judge John England Jr., former Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, Grammy-award-winning recording artist Lionel Richie, and UAB’s Senior Vice President of Medicine Dr. Selwyn Vickers.

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