Actor and Philanthropist Louis Gossett Jr. honored
Gossett was awarded with the Phoenix Award by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the highest honor offered in Atlanta. A public ceremony honored Gossett, with special guests and politicians. Gossett has been an actor for many years but also a true patriot of social justice in the area, making him an "American icon and a treasure to the city of Atlanta" according to councilman Matt Westmoreland. He also noted that “His involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, unwavering stance on social justice and the many ways in which he has impacted film and entertainment make him a legend. Atlanta is truly proud to be a second home to this amazing man. I’m also looking forward to viewing his current Atlanta productions, and I’m grateful for the ways in which he’s contributing economically to our city.”
Gossett has had a long acting career, having won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor for his performance in Roots. He worked as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in An Officer and a Gentleman in the early 1980's, and was the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He has worked alongside greats such as James Earl Jones and Maya Angelou and helped pioneer the industry for African Americans through television, film and theatre. He is now on the cast for HBO's Watchmen which films in Atlanta.
Gossett has been outspoken on issues of civil rights and racial equality, and in that vein, he established Eracism Foundation, an organization that purposes to contribute to a society wherein racism no longer exists by providing programs fostering cultural diversity, historical enrichment, education and antiviolence initiatives.