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06/17/2009 1:30 PM ET
Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali and Bill Cosby to be on-field together for the first-ever regular season Gillette Civil Rights Game
Ancillary events enhance tribute to Civil Rights Movement
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
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As the three MLB Beacon Award winners, Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali and Bill Cosby will be on-field together for pre-game ceremonies at Great American Ball Park as Major League Baseball (MLB) celebrates the 2009 Gillette Civil Rights Game in Cincinnati on June 20. The game between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox is the first regular season Civil Rights Game after two pre-season exhibitions.

"The 2009 Gillette Civil Rights Game, as one of the premier events on the Major League Baseball calendar, honors both the civil rights movement and also the legacy of three great Americans who exemplify the spirit of this era in their deeds, actions and words," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig.

In addition to the pre-game ceremony featuring Aaron, Ali and Cosby, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson will throw out the first pitch and Grammy Award-winning gospel artist BeBe Winans will be performing the National Anthem and a special rendition of his original composition "America, America." Country music star Rissi Palmer will perform "America The Beautiful" and 17-year-old sensation Bernard "BK" Jackson will play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on his saxophone, during the 7th inning stretch.

Also part of Gillette Civil Rights Game weekend is the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, which will be held on Saturday, June 20 from 11:30am to 2:00pm at the Duke Energy Convention Center. The MLB Beacon Awards recognize individuals whose lives are emblematic of the spirit of the civil rights movement. President Bill Clinton will serve as keynote speaker for the Luncheon that will honor Hank Aaron for the Beacon of Life (presented by Commissioner Selig), Muhammad Ali for the Beacon of Change (presented by fellow boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard) and Bill Cosby for the Beacon of Hope (presented by Hall of Famer Bob Gibson). All three MLB Beacon Award winners have been previously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor available in the United States. In connection with the Luncheon, Major League Baseball will make donations to the MLB Urban Youth Foundation, the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Prior to Saturday's festivities, the Baseball and the Civil Rights Movement roundtable discussion will take place at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH, on Friday, June 19, from 4:00-5:30pm (ET). MLB Hall of Famer Tony Perez, Basketball Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, former All-Star and current MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds, Richard Lapchick, Lee Lowenfish, Judge Nathaniel Jones and James Clingman, Jr. will serve as this year's panelists. Harvard Law School professor and renowned expert on race and justice Charles Ogletree will once again moderate a discussion of the pivotal role Baseball played in the Civil Rights Movement and its continued presence as a social institution in American society. The roundtable discussion is an event open to the public and will stream live on, the official website of Major League Baseball.

In conjunction with the Youth Summit at Cincinnati's Fountain Square, Major League Baseball will launch Wanna Play?, a new program intended to boost efforts to reach the African-American community with a youth-oriented event that will take place on Saturday, June 20 from 2:00pm to 7:00pm (ET). Admission is free for all who would like to attend the event that will feature baseball-related activities including batting and pitching cages, baserunning contests, wiffle ball games and demonstrations with current Cincinnati Reds Brandon Phillips and Jerry Hairston, Jr., former Reds outfielder Eric Davis and Harold Reynolds. In addition to these activities, there will be an open-forum, Q&A session beginning at 4:00pm (ET) with "Cory in the House" star Kyle Massey, "Zoey 101" star Christopher Massey, country artist Rissi Palmer, "Journey to the Center of the Earth" star Josh Hutcherson and Eric Davis.

The Gillette Civil Rights Game and ancillary events were developed to pay tribute to all of those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans. For more information on these events, please visit

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