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2011 Civil Rights Game Comes To Atlanta In Fifth Annual Event

Atlanta will be the center of attention from May 13-15 as the Braves host the MLB Civil Rights Game. The event includes the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion, the Civil Rights Game Youth Summit, MLB Beacon Awards Banquet and a game between the Phillies and Braves.

It will be the fifth annual Civil Rights Game. The inaugural game was in 2007 in Memphis, Tenn., between the Indians and Cardinals. There was a luncheon that honored the inaugural Beacon Award winners, which included Spike Lee, Buck O'Neil and Vera Clemente. A roundtable discussion was held prior to the game, as well.

The inaugural event was met with great approval. It continued in Memphis in 2008 between the Mets and White Sox. Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson highlighted the Beacon Award winners.

The 2009 version took a big leap forward for the event, as it was held in Cincinnati and was the cause of a sellout and record-setting crowd for the Reds. It was the first year the event was held during the season instead of as an exhibition prior to the regular season. Such stars as Aaron, Muhammad Ali and Bill Cosby highlighted the event.

The event returned to Cincinnati for 2010, as the Reds hosted the Cardinals in May. Willie Mays, Billy Jean King and Harry Belafonte were honored with the Beacon Awards.

The Civil Rights Game and the events surrounding it are meant to honor the advancements and actions by African-Americans that furthered their fight for equality. It is meant to honor those that took the leap forward, the extra step necessary to reach this equality, such as Jackie Robinson's courageous actions and Aaron's record-setting career.

MLB expects the event to grow even more as the Southern city of Atlanta hosts for the first time. Atlanta is rooted deeply in civil rights history and figures to be an appropriate city to further the event and its popularity.

Major League Baseball wants fans to get involved with the event. You can share your Negro League photos with the world here. If you want to attend, there are several ticket packages that allow fans to attend different events during the week. Rapper Ludacris will perform at Turner Field after the game on Saturday, May 14.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.