SPECIAL AWARDS

Make-up, Hair & Costume
Stunt
Motion Picture

Chairman’s Award

CONGRESSMAN BENNIE G. THOMPSON

Born in a state with a unique history of racial inequality, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson draws inspiration from the legacies of Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, and Henry Kirksey. The Bolton, Mississippi native considers it an honor to walk the path Mississippi civil rights icons paved decades ago. Serving his 15th term in the United States House of Representatives, Thompson represents Mississippi’s Second Congressional District where he has spent his entire life fighting to improve the lives of all people.

Congressman Bennie G. Thompson is the longest-serving African American elected official in the State of Mississippi and the longest Democrat in the Mississippi Congressional Delegation. 

He began his grassroots political activism being being a civil rights champion through the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) while a student at Tougaloo College – a private historically black college in Jackson, Mississippi. He organized voter registration drives for African Americans throughout the Mississippi Delta on behalf of the organization before graduating and following in the footsteps of his mother by becoming a schoolteacher. During his tenure educating the youth of Mississippi, a fire inside of Thompson was ignited pushing him to be a voice to the voiceless through elected office.

His reputation as a no-nonsense problem solver has earned him the trust of his constituents and the respect of his colleagues in Washington. In 1975, he was a plaintiff in a lawsuit that resulted in a $503 million increase in funding for Mississippi’s historically black universities. In 2000, Congressman Thompson’s legislation creating the National Center for Minority Health and Health Care Disparities became law.

Congressman Thompson served on the Agriculture, Budget, and Small Business Committees before assuming the top Democratic position on Homeland Security in 2005. Soon after, his colleagues promoted Congressman Thompson to serve as the first ever Democratic Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

On July 1, 2021, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi named Rep. Thompson Chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Under Chairman Thompson’s leadership, the bipartisan committee has conducted a thorough investigation of the facts, circumstances, and causes of the January 6th attack and worked to ensure nothing like that attack ever occurs again. At the Chairman’s direction, the Select Committee has begun presenting its findings about a multi-part effort to overturn the 2020 election, reflecting the body of evidence the committee has built through more than 1,000 interviews and the hundreds of thousands of records the committee has obtained. Chairman Thompson continues to guide the Select Committee’s investigative and reporting work.

Congressman Thompson is a lifelong member of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Bolton, Mississippi. He has been married to his college sweetheart, London Johnson of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, for 42 years. The couple has one daughter Bendalonne, one granddaughter, Jeanna and one grandson, Thomas Gordon.