Braves Honor Heritage of Black Heroism Ambassador Young Gains Another Accolade

By A. Scott Walton EXECUTIVE EDITOR | 5/31/2013, 6 a.m.
Hank Aaron (left) and Andrew Young (right).

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights isn’t even fully constructed yet, but that isn’t stopping the Atlanta Braves from installing two heroic figures who will now be immortalized as the center’s first Hank Aaron Champion for Justice Award recipients.

In their support of the center, which is scheduled to open in the hub of downtown attractions in 2014, the Braves are staging many public functions to help celebrate Major League Baseball’s Heritage Weekend. Atlanta will host the Washington Nationals during the Heritage Weekend home stand.

The festivities kick off today (Friday, May 31) with an invitation only awards ceremony for former U.S. Ambassador-Atlanta Mayor-Congressman Andrew Young and the former State Senator and local business titan, Leroy Johnson.

That event will be accompanied by a panel discussion to be moderated by the Civil Rights Center’s CEO, Doug Shipman, with an all-star cast of panelists invited to share their viewpoints on race relations and sports in this millennium.

The announced panelists include: former Tuskegee Airman Val Archer; 1968 Summer Olympics track star Tommie “Black Glove” Smith; retired NBA scoring machine Bernard King; and former Brave-turned-broadcaster Brian Jordan.

The remainder of activities for fans who make their way to Turner Field will include: a photo exhibit (“Rise Above”) praising the Tuskegee Airmen who helped the U.S. secure victory over the Germans during World War II; a display of Negro League memorabilia in the stadium’s Hank Aaron Room; breathtaking flyovers by restored P-51 bombers flown by the Tuskegee Airmen prior to the Friday and Saturday games; and a free post-game concert by the iconic hip-hop group Run DMC (Saturday) for all ticket-holders.

For more information, visit civilandhumanrights.org, or atlantabraves.com.