Today, critically acclaimed author Toni Morrison will be one of 13 people to be given the highest civilian honor in the United States — the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Announced by President Obama, Morrison will be awarded the prestigious distinction alongside Bob Dylan, Madeleine Albright, and Israeli president Shimon Peres. "These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life," Obama said in a statement. "They've challenged us, they've inspired us, and they've made the world a better place. I look forward to recognizing them with this award."