The 27th National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award Gala lived up to its high-profile billing, honoring Vice President Joe Biden, the iconic Rev. Jesse Jackson and Memphis businessman and philanthropist J. R. “Pitt” Hyde at the Orpheum Theatre Wednesday night.

Hosted by Michaela Angela Davis, the evening featured a musical tribute to Aretha Franklin, with the late Queen of Soul’s son and two grandchildren on hand for the celebration.

Photojournalist Tyrone P. Easley began the day at the Freedom Award Student Forum and later made his way to the Red Carpet opening and the gala itself, capturing these sights and sounds.