NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Meryl Streep attends 'My Old Lady' Premiere at Museum of Modern Art on September 9, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)
CAMBRIDGE, MA - NOVEMBER 18: Tom Brokaw, Special Correspondent for NBC News, speaks at 'Witnessing the Fall of the Berlin Wall: A Conversation with Tom Brokaw' at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Institute of Politics on November 18, 2014 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 21:Â Isabel Allende presents her latest book 'El Juego De Ripper' at Casa de America in Madrid on January 21, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Alfonso Jimenez Valero/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Marlo Thomas attends the 2014 Primary Stages Gala at 583 Park Avenue on November 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
25 Oct 1991: Charles Sifford hits a chip shot during a Senior Golf Tournament at the Rancho Park Golf Club in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport
UNITED STATES - JUNE 11: Abner Mikva a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, speaks during an interview in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, June 11, 2008. Mikva is a former federal judge and White House counsel to President Bill Clinton. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
(From L-R) Mildred S. Dresselhaus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, stands on stage after receiving the prestigious 2012 Kavli prize for nanoscience, in Oslo, on September 4, 2012. AFP PHOTO / SCANPIX NORWAY / ERLEND AAS ***NORWAY OUT*** (Photo credit should read AAS, ERLEND/AFP/GettyImages)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is presenting the nation's highest civilian honor to 19 artists, activists, public servants and others.
The distinguished group receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom includes actress Meryl Streep, Ethel Kennedy, widow of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder and Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat and the longest-serving member of Congress. Dingell is retiring at the end of the year.
Others being recognized at a White House ceremony Monday are composer Stephen Sondheim, NBC journalist Tom Brokaw and author Isabel Allende.
The list also includes Native American activist Suzan Harjo, actress Marlo Thomas, economist Robert Solow, golfer Charles Sifford, former Rep. Abner Mikva of Illinois and physicist Mildred Dresselhaus.
Posthumous medals will go to six individuals, among them civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who were slain in 1964 as they participated in a historic voter registration drive in Mississippi.
Other posthumous awards will go to choreographer Alvin Ailey and Reps. Patsy Mink of Hawaii and Edward Roybal of California, founder of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is reserved for individuals who have made "meritorious contributions" to U.S. security, world peace or cultural endeavors.