Roberts to be keynote speaker at Beacon Luncheon
'GMA' co-anchor will be joined by Blacc, Ben-Ari at Civil Rights Game event in Houston
Major League Baseball announced some major additions to the Civil Rights Game lineup on Thursday.
Robin Roberts, one of the nation's most recognizable broadcasters, will be the keynote speaker at the Beacon Awards Luncheon on May 30 in Houston. Roberts worked at ESPN for 15 years and has been the co-anchor of ABC's "Good Morning America" for the past decade.
Roberts, who received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at last year's ESPY Awards, will round out a star-studded cast at the Beacon Awards, which will honor American poet Dr. Maya Angelou, Motown founder Berry Gordy and all-time football great Jim Brown for their contributions to society.
MLB also announced that recording artist Aloe Blacc will perform one song at the Beacon Awards Luncheon and two more at the Civil Rights Game at Minute Maid Park that evening. There will also be a performance by United Nations goodwill ambassador Miri Ben-Ari, an Israeli violinist who will perform her song "Symphony of Brotherhood," which also features spoken-word portions from the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Civil Rights Game, held in Chicago last season, shifts to Houston this year, but its message remains the same. Major League Baseball has held the event every year since 2007, and it was developed to celebrate the historic fight for equal rights -- on the field and off -- for all Americans.
The Beacon Awards -- Beacon of Hope, Beacon of Light and Beacon of Change -- were instituted to recognize individuals who have lived lives emblematic of the civil rights movement.
Angelou, best known for her book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," has been an indelible part of American culture for more than four decades. She read one of her poems at President Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993, the first poet to be featured at an inaugural in three decades.
Gordy helped shape American music by discovering Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, and he later signed acts like Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, The Four Tops, The Supremes and Gladys Knight and The Pips to the Motown label. Gordy operated Motown for three decades until 1988.
Brown, one of the greatest players in National Football League history, later went on to star in movies and to fashion a third career as an advocate for change. Brown developed the Amer-I-Can program, which seeks to help rehabilitate gang members and teach life-management skills to inner-city youth.
Roberts has endured a courageous bout with breast cancer and a rare bone-marrow disease, and she's remained a highly visible presence on TV during her recovery. Roberts has been feted by several groups including The Susan G. Komen Foundation, The Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program and Gilda's Club, an organization for cancer patients, survivors and their support groups.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.