Poet, author and activist Maya Angelou will not attend the 2014 MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, where she will be honored.
Angelou canceled an event just a month earlier in Fayetteville, Arkansas, because she was recovering from an “unexpected ailment” that sent her to the hospital
A statement was released saying the following:
“It is with deep regret that I am unable to attend the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon,” Dr. Angelou said in a statement. “I am aware that the Civil Rights Game is Major League Baseball’s opportunity to encourage and lead its fans and friends in honoring and remembering a critical time in our nation’s history, and I respect the league greatly for recognizing the need for this event. I am very proud to be one of the MLB Beacon Award honorees, amongst an impressive list of figures that were, and still are, part of the civil rights movement.”
“Good Morning America” co-anchor and MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon keynote speaker Robin Roberts will accept Dr. Angelou’s award on her behalf.
“Dr. Maya Angelou is a powerful representation of everything we celebrate and recognize for the Civil Rights Game,” MLB executive vice president of baseball development Frank Robinson said in a statement. “Throughout her life and through her unprecedented roster of achievements, Dr. Angelou has exemplified the very definition of ‘pioneer.’ We wish she could be with us in person for this well-deserved recognition, and everyone at Major League Baseball wishes her a full and speedy recovery.”
The Civil Rights Game is an annual Major League Baseball game (starting in 2007) that honors the history of civil rights in the United States and marked the unofficial end to the league’s Spring Training. Starting in 2009, the game became a regular season game.
The first two games were held at AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tennessee. The intent of the game was to “embrace baseball’s history of African-American players,” as well as to generate interest for future black players, after a demographics survey revealed that the percentage of black players in the league has dwindled over the past twelve years to just 8.4 percent. The survey also gave the diversity of players in Major League Baseball an A+ grade: while African-Americans in the sport since 1996 dropped from 17 percent to 8 percent, the percentage of Hispanic players (many of them blacks from the Caribbean) increased during that period from 20 percent to 29 percent, and Asian and other minorities increased from 1 percent to 3 percent. The percentage of non-Hispanic white players actually went down from 62 percent to 60 percent during that period.
We hope she gets well soon.
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