On the day Major League Baseball celebrated the legacy of Jackie Robinson, another black baseball legend endured racist attacks so vicious that it would seem as if the words were spewed in 1947.
In a story published by USA Today, Hank Aaron discussed how he received hate mail in 1974 after breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record. Aaron revealed why the country has a long way to go by saying, “A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go. There’s not a whole lot that has changed,” Aaron said. “Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated. The bigger difference is back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”
That quote created a stir with racists who were appalled that Aaron would bring up the subject of racism. The Atlanta Braves have received a multitude of hate mail aimed at Aaron.
One racist named Edward wrote, “Hank Aaron is a scumbag piece of sh– n—. My old man instilled in my mind from a young age the only good n— is a dead n—.”
It was a revealing letter that proves that many Americans are still barbaric and filled with hate. But Aaron was correct in his assessment about race. The silent racists are more lethal than the loud ones.
Aaron is a man who survived the Jim Crow era, achieved in baseball and made great contributions to his community.
But after all that Aaron has accomplished, it’s shameful that some Americans will prove their worthlessness by aiming racist hatred in his direction.