Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Black History Month No. 5: 12 Cool Things to Know About BHM and Hank Aaron, too.

So, wow, not being a sporty person, I learned a lot about Hank Aaron, who turns 79 years old today, that I never knew before. Very cool guy.

 "Failure is a part of success." 

"My motto was always to keep swinging. 
Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly
 or having trouble off the field, 
the only thing to do was keep swinging."

Hank Aaron

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, historian

"The thought of the inferiority of the Negro 
is drilled into hime in almost every class he enters 
and in almost every book he studies." 

Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron

1. So, long before February was designated BLACK HISTORY MONTH,  the boy baby who'd grow up to be known as Major League Baseball player, Hammerin' Hank Aaron was born on the 5th day of it, in Mobile, Alabama, down on the Gulf of Mexico.

2. In the beginning, in 1926, BHM was conceived as 'Negro History Week."  The 2nd week of February, as a matter of fact, in which a pair of notable winter babies were born: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

3. Whose idea was it? Really, a remarkable individual, a proud black man, and passionate historian, Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson.      

4. Dr. Woodson, who rec'd his Ph.D. (in history) from Harvard University in 1912, pioneered the idea - revolutionary for his timethat the history of African Americans was worthy of deep, scholarly attention. 

5.  Four years after Dr. Woodson died (3 April, 1950), Hank Aaron of Alabama made his Major League debut with the Milwaukee Braves.

6. Mr. Aaron started out his baseball career in the Negro American League, in the Indianapolis Clowns.   Knowing well that you gotta be a sturdy talented individual to be a clown, I'm thinking that that's a rather crummy/demeaning team name. 

7. In 1976, 50 yrs after the 1st Negro History Week, the first official African American History Month was celebrated.  

8. By that year, the U.S.A. Bicentennial, Hank Aaron was wrapping up his nearly 23 year-long career with the Atlanta Braves.  

9. 755 career home runs!  

10. And a big stink it was back on April 8, 1974, when Hank hit No. 715. Why? It meant that Mr. Aaron, who'd been getting lots of support as well as racist death threats, had broken the Babe's long-standing home run record. 

11. Never mind that one of his nicknames was "Bad Henry;" Hank Aaron was and is a gentleman athlete and active in the long struggle for fairness and equality, listed not only in the Civil Rights Hall of Fame,

12. but as of 1982, you'll find Hank "the Hammer" Aaron listed among the greats in baseball's Hall of Fame.  Wanna read more about him? Check out his autobiography, I Had a Hammer. 
Aim some happy birthday vibes in his direction and pay some attention to Black History Month.  You'll discover some REMARKABLE stories about your fellow Americans. 

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