ATLANTA - Major League Baseball and the Atlanta Braves have announced a revised schedule of events surrounding the fifth annual Civil Rights Game, headlined by the MLB Beacon Awards Banquet presented by Belk and Georgia Power.
The Banquet will be held on Saturday, May 14 at the Omni Hotel Grand Ballroom in Atlanta, and will honor the 2011 MLB Beacon Award recipients: Academy Award-winning Actor Morgan Freeman, receiving the MLB Beacon of Hope; Grammy Award-winning Artist Carlos Santana, receiving the MLB Beacon of Change; and Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, receiving the MLB Beacon of Life and will include a special tribute to Baseball Hall of Famer and Braves Legend, Hank Aaron.
American Civil Rights Movement Leader and Co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Reverend Joseph Lowery will deliver the keynote speech at the Banquet.
The Delta Civil Rights Game and ancillary events have been designed by MLB and the Braves to pay tribute to all of those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans.
As home to many key leaders and organizations of the civil rights movement, and as a location for many of the movement's grassroots activities, Atlanta played a critical role in this period of American history.
The Delta Civil Rights Game events also serve as a fundraising effort to deliver charitable contributions. This year, all net proceeds will be donated to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation which is building a memorial near the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials in Washington, D.C.
"This condensed schedule allows us to concentrate our efforts over a shorter period of time and maximize the impact of the events, which tell the story of the civil rights movement in the city of Atlanta and the country," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, Executive Vice President, Baseball Development, Major League Baseball. "The MLB Beacon Awards Banquet is the most fitting environment to honor the legendary Hank Aaron, whose heroic accomplishments, contributions and support for the game of Baseball have been and continue to be invaluable."
Following is the REVISED schedule for the 2011 Delta Civil Rights Game events:
Baseball & the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion - Ebenezer Baptist Church, Friday, May 13 (3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. ET)
Moderated each year by Harvard Law School Professor and renowned expert on race and justice Charles Ogletree, the roundtable discusses the pivotal role Baseball played in the civil rights movement and the game's continued presence as a social institution in American society. The panel this year will include: singer Gloria Gaynor; activist Dolores Huerta; Arte Moreno, Principle Owner, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; and Marc Morial, Executive Director, National Urban League. The roundtable discussion will be an open event to the public and will stream live on MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball.
Civil Rights Game Youth Summit presented by Army/"Wanna Play?" Event - Centennial Olympic Park, Saturday, May 14 (9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. ET)
Young people will have the opportunity to meet MLB players and participate in baseball and softball clinics, interactive stations and a Q&A discussion panel featuring players, performers and local celebrities. The free event will conclude with a parade to Turner Field.
Special Postgame Concert featuring Ludacris - Turner Field, Saturday, May 14 (Following the game scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET)
Award-winning and Atlanta-based Rapper and Actor Ludacris, along with a "special guest," will be performing on the field at Turner Field as one of the events surrounding the Delta Civil Rights Game. The scheduled one-hour performance will take place following that day's 1:00 p.m. ET game between the Atlanta Braves and NL East rival, Philadelphia Phillies, which will be a tribute to the Negro Leagues. The Braves will be wearing the Atlanta Black Cracker uniforms and the Phillies will be in the Philadelphia Stars uniform. A pre-game tribute will include an on-field presentation featuring Negro Leagues players including James "Red" Moore. Fans that purchase tickets for the regular season contest between the Braves and Phillies will be treated to the postgame performance at no extra charge.
MLB Beacon Awards Banquet presented by Belk and Georgia Power - Omni Hotel Grand Ballroom, Saturday, May 14 (7:00 p.m. - 9:15 p.m. ET)
The Banquet will be held the evening prior to the 2011 Delta Civil Rights Game. Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks will be receiving the MLB Beacon of Life, which recognizes an individual who embodies the soul of the civil rights movement through the recipient's life pursuits. Grammy Award-winning Artist Carlos Santana will be receiving the MLB Beacon of Change, which is given to an individual who impacts society through words and actions. Academy Award-winning Actor Morgan Freeman will be receiving the MLB Beacon of Hope, which is given to an individual who influences our future through his or her support of children. Past recipients of MLB Beacon Awards include: Baseball Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays; Buck O'Neil, Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Ruby Dee, Spike Lee, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, John H. Johnson and Vera Clemente, MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of the late Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. Keynote speakers at previous MLB Beacon Award events have included President Bill Clinton, Ambassador Andrew Young and Julian Bond.
Fifth Annual Civil Rights Game - Turner Field, Sunday, May 15 (Game time scheduled for 1:15 p.m. ET) The Delta Civil Rights Game between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field, airing on TBS, will feature special pre-game ceremonies recognizing the 2011 MLB Beacon Award recipients, on-field civil rights-themed musical performances and players wearing throwback uniforms from 1974.
The 2011 Civil Rights Game and ancillary activities is the fifth installation of an annual event that began in Memphis in 2007, centering on an exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians. After another exhibition game in Memphis in 2008, the Civil Rights Game and ancillary events moved to Cincinnati in 2009 and 2010 as Regular Season contests.