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. ”

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

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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.

Trump fills Cabinet quota with Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

 

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  •  Dr. Ben Carson
    In 1984, at age 33, Ben Carson became the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins Hospital. He pioneered a number of neurosurgical procedures and was even awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.
    Carson is a skilled neurosurgeon and has earned a number of accolades during his storied career in medicine, but none of those accomplishments speak to the skills needed to craft policy for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the federal agency that President-elect Donald Trump has asked him to lead.
    Carson’s ability to run a federal bureaucracy with a $27 billion budget such as HUD is unknown. But Donald Trump has been consistent in selected unqualified millionaires and billionaires with no specific policy expertise to run the federal government. With that, Trump has selected Ben Carson to run HUD.
    HUD has traditionally been the cabinet department that Republican presidents have chosen African American nominees. It has been the predictable quota position for GOP presidents and Trump is carrying on that tradition. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan selected Sam Pierce as his HUD Secretary and, in 2004, President George W. Bush chose Alfonso Jackson. But whether they were picked in part, because of skin color or not, both Jackson and Pierce still had at least some experience in a government position before becoming Secretary of HUD. Jackson was the former executive director of the St. Louis Housing Authority and later ran the Dallas Housing Authority. “Silent Sam” Pierce had at least served in the Department of Treasury before being selected as Reagan’s only Black cabinet member.
    During Pierce’s tenure, a Congressional investigation revealed that, “Pierce’s aides, who said they had been acting on his orders, distributed millions of dollars in housing subsidies to prominent Republican consultants at a time when the Reagan administration was sharply reducing the agency’s budget,” according to “The New York Times.”
    The New York Times article continued: “Under President Ronald Reagan, annual spending on subsidized housing programs dropped to $8 billion from $26 billion, cuts that Mr. Pierce defended.
    Carson’s housing strategy is likely to be a mix of novice policy making and unproven theory. That’s how policy novices who think they know everything on subjects they have no expertise typically approach government. Given that, Congress is likely to be the entity truly in charge of the policy as Carson fumbles around with the details.
    Ben Carson has already shown a rugged disregard for plain fact since the time he retired from Johns Hopkins in 2013. That trait hasn’t gone unnoticed. On the day Carson was nominated, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) blasted Trump’s decision. “Dr. Carson’s nomination to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is frightening. He may be a brain surgeon but he is not qualified to run HUD. Donald Trump knows this,” Waters asserted in the statement. “During the Republican primary, [Trump] called him a liar, pathological and even violent. Dr. Carson himself has said he is not qualified to lead a federal agency. Now, we are expected to forget these disqualifying statements by both of them and entrust Dr. Carson with overseeing HUD, which has a budget of $47 billion.”
    The statement continued: “Millions of Americans rely on HUD assistance to help them access safe, decent, and affordable housing. And they are not all in the inner cities; they are in rural and suburban areas as well. HUD provides critical investments in these areas to spur economic development and house the most vulnerable. This is no easy task. The rural and urban Americans who benefit from HUD programs deserve a strong, qualified leader at the helm of this important agency. Dr. Carson is not this person. We know it, Donald Trump knows it, and yes, even Dr. Carson knows it.”
    The confirmation hearing for Carson should be quite long and entertaining. Just like Trump’s choice of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, the choice of Carson by Trump would indicate that the department is of little to no importance to the incoming President, but that there may be major change in federal housing policy on the horizon.