News

NAACP Mourns the Passing of Baseball Great Hank Aaron

January 22, 2021

The NAACP mourns the passing of Hank Aaron, Legendary Atlanta Brave and Major League Baseball record holder and a former member of the NAACP Board of Directors. 

“Hank did not only break barriers on the baseball field, but also in the civil rights movement,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. I hope that athletes from all sports will follow in his footsteps to use their platforms for social good and to advance the cause of civil rights.” 

Aaron made his Major League Debut and started his 23-year-career with the then-Milwaukee Braves. His first season saw him finish fourth in the rookie of the year voting. Aaron remains baseball’s runs batted in leader with 2,297 and total base leader with 6,856. It was in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1974 that Aaron, in front of a sellout crowd, hit the 715th home run of his career, breaking the mark of Babe Ruth.

Aaron was more than just a baseball player. He overcame racism in the deep south throughout his career and often received death threats while he was making his historic pursuit of Babe Ruth’s record. All the while, he remained humble and continued to power through every hurdle that was in front of him. 

In 2002, President George W. Bush awarded Aaron the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his philanthropy and humanitarian endeavors. Hank Aaron represented an era in this nation of Black individuals who broke barriers. He was a close member of our family here at NAACP. We know his legacy will continue to inspire many generations to come. 

###

About NAACP

Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.