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Hank Aaron is renowned for breaking color barriers long before President Obama. Just as the first black president has dealt with death threats and vicious attacks, Aaron encountered similar opposition when he entered Major League Baseball after its integration in 1954. Yet, this pioneer battled through the hatred hurled at him to become one of the most successful and esteemed players of all time. Princeton University granted Hank Aaron an honorary degree on Tuesday in recognition of his brave leadership in integrating America’s favorite pass time. reports:

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Hall of Famer Hank Aaron was among six distinguished guests who were presented with honorary degrees from Princeton University at its 264th commencement on Tuesday.

Aaron was presented with an honorary doctorate of humanities. The university cited Aaron’s “imperishable example of grace under pressure” as he chased Babe Ruth’s career home run record and received racist hate mail and death threats as a result. “As a player entering Major League Baseball soon after its integration in 1954, he confronted racism with quiet dignity, and as an executive he has fought discrimination in hiring practices,” a university press release said.

Hank Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, but it is wonderful to see our greater society recognize this hero for all his contributions.

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