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June Smithsonian Program at Cultural Heritage Center to Feature “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron

Due to a scheduling issue, the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society will move the monthly “Smithsonian Saturday” program at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre to Sunday, June 5, at 2 p.m. CDT.

The featured program is entitled, “Major League Legends: Hank Aaron” and was originally broadcast by the Smithsonian Channel. There is no fee to attend this program, but regular admission fees apply to visit the museum exhibits.

The 47-minute program focuses on baseball player Henry "Hank" Aaron, who did not aim to become Major League Baseball's home run king, nor did he intend to grow into a Civil Rights icon. But because of his remarkable strength, both in power and in character, he became both.

‘Hammerin' Hank’ was a victim of discrimination and bigotry his whole life, from his Alabama upbringing through his days in the Negro League and notably during his quest to capture Babe Ruth's home run crown. Through it all, he stayed focused, stood up to every challenge, and 755 big swings later, became a legend.

“For anyone interested in studying American history, or baseball, or the relationship between American sports and social issues, this is a must-see program,” said Jay Smith, museum director for the South Dakota State Historical Society. “This is a powerful program featuring an American icon, and I think people will be surprised at the backstory that unfolds as Aaron pursues the major league home run record in the early 1970s.”

“Smithsonian Saturday” will return to its first Saturday of the month schedule on Saturday, July 2. The program will feature work being conducted on historical topics in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution.

The South Dakota State Historical Society became a Smithsonian Affiliate in January 2013 and is the only affiliate in South Dakota.

For more information, call (605) 773-3458.

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