"This condensed schedule allows us to concentrate our efforts over a shorter period of time and maximize the impact of the events, which tell the story of the civil rights movement in the city of Atlanta and the country," MLB executive vice president of baseball development Jimmie Lee Solomon said in a statement Friday. "The MLB Beacon Awards Banquet is the most fitting environment to honor the legendary Hank Aaron, whose heroic accomplishments, contributions and support for the game of baseball have been and continue to be invaluable."
The events will now kick off Friday, May 13, at 3 p.m. ET, with the Roundtable Discussion at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree will serve as moderator and will lead a panel that includes singer Gloria Gaynor, activist Dolores Huerta, Angels principal owner Arte Moreno and National Urban League executive director Marc Morial.
Those who want to have their questions asked by the panel can e-mail them -- along with their full names -- to email@example.com for consideration. The discussion will be streamed on MLB.com at noon on May 15.
The Youth Summit, presented by Army, will take place at Centennial Olympic Park the following morning at 9. There, kids can interact with Major League players and local celebrities by participating in clinics, interactive stations and Q&A sessions during a free event that will conclude with a parade to Turner Field.
Following Saturday afternoon's Phillies-Braves game, which will serve as a Negro League tribute, iconic rapper Ludacris will stage a post-game concert along with an unidentified special guest.
Then, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, the Omni Hotel Grand Ballroom will host the Beacon Awards, presented by Belk and Georgia Power. Actor Morgan Freeman (Beacon of Hope), artist Carlos Santana (Beacon of Change) and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks (Beacon of Life) will be honored, and a special tribute to Aaron will take place.
Held in Memphis, Tenn., the first two years, then in Cincinnati from 2009-10, the annual Civil Rights Game will be taking place on a Sunday for the first time and will air on TBS. First pitch is at 1:15 p.m., with pregame ceremonies taking place and players sporting throwback uniforms from 1974.
All net proceeds from the game will be donated to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, which is building a memorial near the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials in Washington, D.C.
More information and the opportunity to purchase tickets can be found at mlb.com/civilrightsgame.