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Inaugural Atlanta Braves Heritage Weekend To Honor Andrew Young and Leroy Johnson

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ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights announce that Ambassador Andrew Young and Senator Leroy Johnson will be the inaugural recipients of the Hank Aaron Champion for Justice Award. The awards will be given out during the Champions for Justice Award Panel Discussion presented by Belk on Friday, May 31 in the 755 Club at Turner Field.

Young, the former Georgia Congressman and United Nations Ambassador, has had a long-storied career as a civil and human rights advocate. He was the executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a colleague and friend of Martin Luther King, Jr., and was an integral person involved in the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

Former state senator Johnson is the owner of Leroy R. Johnson & Associates, P.C., a law firm he has owned and managed for over 47 years.  Throughout his many years of practice he has represented famous entertainers like James Brown and Otis Redding and Hall of Fame Braves great Hank Aaron. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he has also been an active member for over 40 years.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Doug Shipman, CEO for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Panelists include former Tuskegee Airman Val Archer, 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 200 meter track and field event, Tommie Smith, former NBA player Bernard King and former Atlanta Brave Brian Jordan. Proceeds from the event will benefit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Belk and KIA have become title sponsors of the three-day special event which include the following activities:

Friday, May 31

  • Champion for Justice Award Panel Discussion and Award Presentation presented by Belk: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the 755 Club at Turner Field.
  • The Tuskegee Airmen “Rise Above” Exhibit Presented by KIA: 11:00 a.m. – 6th inning of the game located at Turner Field’s Monument Grove.
  • The Negro League Exhibit Presented by KIA: Located in the Hank Aaron Room inside the ballpark and is available for viewing from the time the gates are open until the end of the game.
  • Flyover of P-51 planes: One of the planes used by the Tuskegee Airmen in WWII.

Saturday, June 1

  • The Tuskegee Airmen “Rise Above Exhibit Presented by KIA: 11:00 a.m. – 6th inning of game located at Turner Field’s Monument Grove
  • The Negro League Exhibit Presented by KIA: Located in the Hank Aaron Room inside the ballpark and is available for viewing from the time the gates are open until the end of the game.
  • Atlanta Braves Youth Baseball Clinic Presented by KIA: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  150 participants, ages 8-12, will participate in three stations of skills preparation – throwing/pitching, hitting and defense. The clinic will be run by Atlanta Braves alumni and Chance Bream, from the East Cobb Baseball Academy.
  • Negro League player autograph signing session in Fan Plaza from 5:15 p.m. – 6:15  p.m.
  • A pregame tribute of the Negro League including 10-15 former players.
  • Flyover of P-51 planes: One of the planes used by the Tuskegee Airmen in WWII.
  • Special Negro League uniforms: The Atlanta Braves will wear the Negro League Atlanta Black Cracker uniforms during the game, while the Washington Nationals will don the Homestead (Washington, DC) Grays uniforms.
  • Postgame concert with Run DMC: Free with a game ticket.

Sunday, June 2

  • The Tuskegee Airmen “Rise Above” Exhibit Presented by KIA: 11:00 a.m. – 6th inning of the game located at Turner Field’s Monument Grove.
  • The Negro League Exhibit Presented by KIA: Located in the Hank Aaron Room inside the ballpark and is available for viewing from the time the gates are open until the end of the game.

After hosting Major League Baseball’s Civil Rights Game in 2011 and 2012, the Braves decided to start their own tradition of honoring Atlanta’s strong and rich history in the Civil Rights Movement which has become the Atlanta Braves Heritage Weekend presented by Belk and KIA.

Tickets for the Champions for Justice Panel Discussion are available by visiting http://www.civilandhumanrights.org/Act/EventCalendar/index.html.

For more information on the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, contact LaTasha Smith at 404-991-6977 or lsmith@civlandhumanrights.org.

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