Maya Angelou had to pull out of an MLB even honoring civil rights leaders and those who fought to break the color barrier in baseball due to health problems, according to an ABC Newsreport. Major League Baseball had planned to honor Angelou at the 2014 MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon.
For those who may have missed it, Major League Baseball is honoring Jackie Robinson and other African-American baseball players and civil rights leaders instrumental to the integration of professional baseball. They are particularly honoring the Negro Leagues and those who played in them. Teams are wearing throwback Negro League jerseys and many players are wearing the number 42 to honor Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, Maya Angelou’s health concerns preclude her attendance at the Beacon Awards Luncheon this Friday.
Despite Maya Angelou’s absence, the event – which is being held in Houston before the Astro’s Negro League tribute game – will go on as scheduled. In addition to Maya Angelou, who will be awarded in absentia, Major League Baseball will be honoring Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records, Jim Brown – of the Cleveland Browns – and television personality Robin Roberts, according to a Star Tribune report.
Maya Angelou did not disclose the nature of her illness, but the 86-year-old has recently cancelled other recent events due to unexpected health ailments.
According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, Frank Robinson, the first African-American to serve as a manager for a Major League Baseball team and who starred for the Baltimore Orioles – the Astro’s opponent on the night of the Civil Rights Tribute game – had this to say about Maya Angelou:
“Dr. Maya Angelou is a powerful representation of everything we celebrate and recognize for the Civil Rights Game. 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 same article quotes Houston Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan:
“While we are sad that Dr. Angelou is unable to join us, we certainly understand that her health comes first, we wish her a speedy recovery and will be thinking of her on May 30th.”
Dr. Maya Angelou is best known for her writing, which often addresses themes of racism and the struggle for civil rights. Angelou first came to national prominence with the release of her autobiographical I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.
We at The Inquisitr join Major League Baseball in wishing Dr. Maya Angelou a fast and complete recovery and in thanking her for her contribution to the Civil Rights Movement.