There will undoubtedly be a solemn tone to this week's Civil Rights Game festivities in Houston.
Nationally renowned poet and essayist Dr. Maya Angelou, who died Wednesday, was scheduled to be one of three Beacon Awards recipients in a luncheon prior to the Civil Rights Game between the Orioles and the Houston Astros on Friday.
Last week, Major League Baseball announced that Angelou would be unable to attend the Beacon Awards luncheon because of health reasons.
“It is with deep regret that I able unable to attend the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon,” Angelou said in a statement to MLB.com. “I am aware that the Civil Rights Game is Major League Baseball’s opportunity to encourage and lead its fans and friends in honoring and remembering a critical time in our nation’s history, and I respect the league greatly for recognizing the need for this event. I am very proud to be one of the MLB Beacon Award honorees, amongst an impressive list of figures that were, and still are a part of the civil rights movement.”
Angelou, Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy are this year’s Beacon Award recipients.
Baseball's Civil Rights Game has been held annually since 2007.
This year marks the Orioles' first appearance in the game, and they'll be wearing Negro League throwback uniforms to honor the occasion.