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Civil Rights Game reading room

Jerry Reinsdorf and Kenny Williams wanted U.S. Cellular Field to host the annual event dedicated to diversity, and you should, too

Kevin C. Cox

The Civil Rights Game, which the White Sox and Rangers will play this evening at U.S. Cellular Field, means a lot to the people in charge.

If you need any idea, just watch Kenny Williams talk to the children in attendance at the Civil Rights Roundtable:

The Roundtable was one of a few events that precede the playing of the actual game. At 11:30 a.m. today, Bo Jackson will be honored at Major League Baseball's Beacon Awards. After the luncheon, the "Wanna Play?" youth clinic will be held at Armour Square Park at 3:30 p.m.

Besides the attention that it draws towards the Sox's track record of championing diversity and their inner-city outreach programs, it also provides ample reason to talk about overlooked aspects of Chicago baseball history.

That includes Minnie Minoso, who should get plenty of recognition as Chicago's first black major league ballplayer, and a stage which he can use to spread his goodwill. (It also doesn't hurt that Ichiro Suzuki collected his 4,000th hit between MLB and Japanese baseball, which led SABR member Scott Simkus to note that Minoso had 4,073 hits between the Cuban and Negro leagues and his MLB career.)

Beyond Minoso, the Civil Rights Game means that Rube Foster's name finds its way into the news, which is always welcome. David Haugh dropped the father of black baseball's name in his column, and there's an even better feature about Foster's influence on the flourishing black baseball scene in Chicago, with men like Ted "Double Duty" Radcliff and Minoso carrying the torch through to integration.

It's easy to see why landing the Civil Rights Game was such a priority for Reinsdorf and Williams, but any advocate of Chicago's communities and history should hope this engagement isn't limited to just one year.