Smyrna library begins Black History Month with sports writer’s talk on Hank Aaron

Credit: Brian McKeithan

Credit: Brian McKeithan

The Smyrna Public Library kicked off Black History Month on Saturday with a lecture about the late Hank Aaron, a day before the beloved Baseball Hall of Famer would have turned 89.

Longtime sports writer and columnist Terence Moore spoke about his life and his relationship with Aaron, who died in January 2021. Aaron is also the basis of Moore’s book, “The Real Hank Aaron: An Intimate Look at the Life and Legacy of the Home Run King.”

Moore said Aaron, the former home run king and longtime star of the Braves’ franchise in Milwaukee and Atlanta, was the “most approachable superstar of all time,” a person who was the same with fans as he was with baseball executives and reporters.

Moore worked at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for more than 20 years and now writes columns for Forbes. He met Aaron while working as a sports reporter, after growing up as a fan. After Aaron’s death, Moore served as an honorary pallbearer at Aaron’s funeral.

Credit: Brian McKeithan

Credit: Brian McKeithan

Moore said he and Aaron were kindred spirits, having shared the experience of being Black in hostile and predominantly white spaces.

Moore described how Aaron struggled with racist reactions as he approached and broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in the 1970s. As other record-breakers were having the time of their lives, Aaron was facing death threats.

Moore also spoke about his reporting on racial quotas limiting Black players in Major League Baseball scouting, and on the strained relationship between Aaron and Barry Bonds, who broke Aaron’s home run record in 2007, an achievement clouded by Bonds’ purported use of performance-enhancing drugs.

ExploreHow Henry Aaron made baseball a form of civil rights activism

“Modern racism isn’t about attack dogs and fire hoses anymore, it’s about mind games,” Moore said, drawing connections between how he, Aaron and Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947, all dealt with the challenges of racism.

Nicole Durham, a system administrator and Cincinnati Reds fan who lives in Smyrna, bought a copy of Moore’s book, which he signed at the event. Durham said she’s a lifelong baseball fan, because the sport brings back memories of playing as a kid.

“Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron, thinking about their accomplishments keeps me motivated,” Durham said. “Because life is hard for everybody, but there are challenges that come with being a different race. And I know they’ve overcome them.”

Credit: Marietta Daily Journal

Credit: Marietta Daily Journal


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