The former cricketers turned broadcasters both spoke publicly on air about the racism they and their families had encountered during the course of the summer’s cricket.
Holding spoke emotionally of the racism faced by his parents in the UK while Rainford-Brent described being “drip fed” racist comments about her ethnicity, which led her to question her future in the sport.
The former internationals will be honoured in a private virtual ceremony from 3.30pm on Tuesday, with their accolade also acknowledging their cricketing achievements.
Holding took 249 Test wickets in a revered West Indies bowling attack while Rainford-Brent was the first black woman to represent England and doubles up her broadcasting career as the director of Surrey Women’s Cricket.
William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said: “It is entirely right to call out prejudice in all its forms, and Ebony and Michael have taken a courageous stand in speaking out against racism in this country. The granting of the Freedom of the City of London recognises how they have added their voices to the growing global movement to stamp out racism.”