Katori Hall, who is best known for her work on the hit STARZ series 'P-Valley', was also awarded.
Voices have spoken out against UNC for denying tenure to the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and incoming Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at her alma mater.
"Through her work and her life, she set us free."
"Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life", Morrison's family said in a statement.
Franklin, who passed away back in August, was given the award for her incredible contributions to art and culture.