Newswire: Baseball icon Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron dies at 86

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Hank Aaron


Baseball’s recognized home run king and an African American hero, Henry “Hank” Aaron, has died at the age of 86.
Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record on April 8, 1974, was not just a baseball legend but a hero to superstars. “He’s the one man that I idolize more than myself,” the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali once said about Aaron.
While with the Atlanta Braves, Aaron tied Ruth’s mark of 714 homers on April 7. A day later, he slugged No. 715 against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Al Downing.
Before and throughout his chase of Ruth’s longstanding record, Aaron was subjected to racism and hate. Death threats were common, and even some teammates and those throughout baseball despised Aaron as he approached their white hero’s record.
Despite beefed up security at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium, some fans breached the outfield walls as Aaron trotted around the bases following his record-setting dinger.
“A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol,” Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who called the game, proclaimed as Aaron’s mother, family, and teammates greeted him at home plate.
Born Henry Louis Aaron on February 5, 1934, in a poor Black section of Mobile, Alabama, called “Down the Bay,” Hank Aaron was the third of eight children born to Estella and Herbert Aaron. Aaron’s father made his living as a tavern owner and a dry dock boilermaker’s assistant. Aaron and his family moved to the middle-class Toulminville neighborhood when he was eight years old.
Aaron, who became known as “Hammering Hank,” developed a strong affinity for baseball and football at a young age and focused more heavily on sports than his studies. During his freshman and sophomore years, he attended Central High School, a segregated high school in Mobile, where he excelled at football and baseball.
Aaron first starred in the Negro Leagues in 1952 and again in 1953, batting .366, with five home runs and 33 RBIs in 26 official games. He began his Major League Baseball career in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves and spent 23 seasons as an outfielder with Milwaukee – the franchise eventually moved to Atlanta.
Aaron finished his career with 755 home runs, a record topped by Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants in 2007. However, many baseball purists recognize Aaron as the true record holder, alleging that Bonds used performance enhancing drugs to bolster his power.Bonds has denied those allegations.
Aaron’s biography at the Baseball Hall of Fame, where he earned induction in 1982, noted that he was “a consistent producer both at the plate and in the field, reaching the .300 mark in batting 14 times, 30 home runs 15 times, 90 RBI 16 times and captured three Gold Glove Awards enroute to 25 All-Star Game selections.” He also had over 3,000 hits during his MLBaseball career.
On the 25th anniversary of Aaron’s 715th home run, Major League Baseball created the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the players with the best overall offensive performances in each league.
Aaron received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, from President George W. Bush in 2002.
According to the New York Times, the Baseball Hall of Fame opened a permanent exhibit in 2009 chronicling Aaron’s life. His childhood home was moved on a flatbed truck to the grounds of Hank Aaron Stadium, which was the home of the Mobile BayBears, a former minor league team, and opened as a museum in 2010.
“Through his long career, Hank Aaron has been a model of humility, dignity, and quiet competence,” former Atlanta Mayor and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young noted in a statement. “He did not seek the adoration that is accorded to other national athletic heroes, yet he has now earned it. ”

Newswire: At DNC: Obamas, Colin Powell, Kamala Harris start battle for ‘Soul of America’ as Biden becomes official Democratic Presidential nominee

By Hazel Trice Edney

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris


(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Former Vice President Joseph “Joe” Biden officially became the Democratic Party’s candidate for president this week, receiving the nomination on Tuesday night after a string of speakers, led by former First Lady Michelle Obama, former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Second Lady Jill Biden among dozens of other political stars and grassroots activists.
Wednesday’s line up was set to feature President Barack Obama and Vice Presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris.
The virtual convention, televised around the nation and world, echoed the Biden campaign slogan, “Build Back Better.” In order to protect people from the Coronavirus, the DNC went virtual with the convention, instead of meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as originally planned. Squares showing diverse people applauding in their living rooms and various places in states around the nation took the place of the live audience.
Surrounded by balloons, Biden accepted the nomination as Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” song blared in the background. He will deliver his acceptance speech on Thursday at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, likely elaborating on his personal theme, “This is a battle for the soul of America.”
The Republican National Convention will follow on Monday Aug. 24 through Thursday, starting in Charlotte, N.C. on the first day and then held remotely. President Trump and Vice President Pence, hoping to win a second term, will have their say, but not without the sting of the blistering Democratic speeches this week.
“So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” a poised Michelle Obama said in a pre-recorded speech Monday night. “He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.”
She continued, “So if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will if we don’t
make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”
Biden supporters are mostly stressing his “good guy” image, stressing his reputation for decency and relatable to common people. Video images during the convention showed him riding the train home everyday in order to be there for his young sons after his first wife and their daughter were killed in a car accident. They also referred to his pain and resiliency amidst the death of his adult son, Beau, who succumbed to a brain tumor in 2015.
Prospective First Lady Jill Biden was perhaps his best witness in this regard. “Four days after Beau’s funeral, I watched Joe shave and put on his suit. I saw him steel himself in the mirror—take a breath—put his shoulders back—and walk out into a world empty of our son. He went back to work. That’s just who he is,” she said in her speech. “There are times when I couldn’t imagine how he did it—how he put one foot in front of the other and kept going. But I’ve always understood why he did it: For the daughter who convinces her mom to finally get a breast cancer screening and misses work to drive her to the clinic, for the community college student who has faced homelessness and survived abuse—but finds the grit to finish her degree and make a good life for her kids, for the little boy whose mom is serving as a marine in Iraq, who puts on a brave face in his video call, and doesn’t complain when the only thing he wants for his birthday is to be with her, for all those people Joe gives his personal phone number to, at rope lines and events—the ones he talks to for hours after dinner—helping them smile through their loss—letting them know that they aren’t alone. He does it for you.”
She concluded, “Joe’s purpose has always driven him forward. His strength of will is unstoppable. And his faith is unshakable—because it’s not in politicians or political parties—or even himself. It’s in the providence of God. His faith is in you—in us.”
Among the most unusual aspects of the convention – other than it being held remotely – was the number of high profiled Republicans who spoke on Biden’s behalf.
“I support Joe Biden because on Day One he will restore America’s leadership and our moral authority,” said Powell, who served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Bush and Democratic President Bill Clinton. “He’ll be a president who knows America is strongest when, as he has said, ‘We lead both by the power of our example and the example of our power.’ He will restore America’s leadership in the world and restore the alliances we need to address the dangers that threaten our nation, from climate change to nuclear proliferation.”
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also a Republican and a former presidential candidate, weathered criticism from fellow Republicans for his open support of Biden.
“I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country. That’s why I’ve chosen to appear at this convention. In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times,” Kasich said in his speech. “Yes, there are areas where Joe and I absolutely disagree. But that’s OK because that’s America. Because whatever our differences, we respect one another as human beings, each of us searching for justice and for purpose.”
A video was shown highlighting Biden’s friendship with the late Republican Sen. John McCain. It was narrated by McCain’s wife, Cindy, ending with his words to Biden, thanking him for his friendship: “My life and the lives of many have been enriched by it.”
Millions anticipated Biden’s remarks at the close of the DNC convention Thursday night. But, even more so, the race between him and Trump. The issues at hand in the Black community, including health care, criminal justice, police brutality and economic
justice will be foremost as America goes to the polls or mail in their ballots.

Newswire :  Senator John McCain called Obama’s election ‘a triumph for the country’

By Frederick H. Lowe

 

 McCain and Obama

 Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com (TriceEdneyWire.com) – In his 2008 concession speech to Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain declared that Obama’s election as president was ‘a triumph for the country.’ Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, along with predecessor President George W. Bush, will deliver the eulogies at McCain’s funeral. McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona and Vietnam War veteran, died Saturday night from brain cancer. He will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. McCain was 81. “Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it and offer him my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day. Though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise,” McCain said. McCain also noted how much the country has changed with Obama’s election. ”A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt’s invitation of Booker T Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States,” he said. At the end of speech, McCain wished Obama well. “I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president. And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.” McCain also made a great gesture when he took a microphone from a woman at a 2008 town hall meeting. The woman said she could not trust Obama because he was an Arab. To a chorus of boos, McCain corrected her, calling Obama a decent family man and citizen who he happens to disagree with on certain issues. He told the audience there was nothing frightening about Obama. The boos became cheers. And now Obama will eulogize his former colleague in the Senate, his former presidential rival, lauding John McCain as a man of commitment and courage, a steward of America’s highest ideals. McCain also served as a prisoner of war when his fighter jet was shot down over Hanoi during the Vietnam War. He was a prisoner for five years refusing to leave before fellow prisoners. He was tortured as a prisoner but became a strong opponent of torture when it was employed by U. S. military and intelligence forces during the Iraq war.

Dr. Dorothy Height to be honored on U.S. postage stamp

dorothy-height-stamp

Stamp honoring Dorothy Height

 

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – On Feb. 1, the U. S. Postal Service will kick off 2017 Black History Month with the issuance of the Dorothy Height Forever stamp to honor the civil rights legend.

The Dorothy Height Forever stamp will be the 40th stamp in the Black Heritage series. The late Dr. Height is considered to be civil rights royalty. Having led the National Council of Negro Women for four decades, Height was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal, awarded by President George W. Bush in 2004 for her pioneering work for the civil rights of African-Americans and women. President Barack Obama gave her eulogy upon her death on April 12, 2010.

Participants in the Feb. 1 event will be Ronald A. Stroman, deputy postmaster general and chief government relations officer, United States Postal Service; Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.); Alexis Herman, president, Dorothy I. Height Education Foundation; Ingrid Saunders Jones, chair, National Council of Negro Women; Naima Randolph, Dorothy Height’s great niece; Derry Noyes, art director; and Bishop Vashti McKenzie, bishop of the African American Episcopal Church.

Doors will open at 10 a.m. for the 11 a.m. event to be held at the Howard University Cramton Auditorium, 2455 Sixth Street Washington, DC. The ceremony is free and open to the public. Space is limited and admission is not guaranteed. To obtain a free ticket, visit the Cramton Auditorium Box Office.