Effa Manley’s hidden life

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-11-11 20:13Z by Steven

Effa Manley’s hidden life


Shakeia Taylor

The only woman in the National Baseball Hall of Fame had a fascinating — and confusing — past

She was sure and confident in everything she did. She was tall, smart, and intimidating, a shrewd businesswoman unafraid to speak her mind. For years I’d recognized Effa Manley for many things: her civil rights work, co-owning and managing a Negro League baseball team, her stint as Negro National League treasurer, her role in Larry Doby integrating Major League Baseball’s American League, and being the first African-American woman inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

But for everything Manley was, there is one thing she really wasn’t: Black.

“Everything in my life has been Black,” Manley told sportswriter Henry Hecht of the New York Post in 1975. For many years, that’s seemed like the last word on the matter. While I knew Manley was not the first woman to own a team — a distinction actually held by Olivia Taylor, who became the owner of the Indianapolis ABC Clowns after her husband C.I. Taylor died 1922 — I had always assumed she was African American. Her race, however, has been a source of quiet controversy for years, one of which I was unaware. It wasn’t until I started researching more into her life I found out perhaps Manley wasn’t exactly who she seemed…

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She Just Loved Baseball

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2011-10-21 03:34Z by Steven

She Just Loved Baseball

Black Athlete Sports Network

Bill Carroll

NEW YORK—Effa Manley was seemingly yet another “lost” pioneer in Negro Leagues Baseball before being posthumously honored in 2006 with induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

She was part of a class of players and executives selected by a special committee chaired by former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent. But a plaque for the only woman inducted in the Hall of Fame barely touches the surface of an often controversial life.

Manley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her mother, Bertha Ford Brooks, was of German and East-Indian descent. Bertha, who was a seamstress, gave birth to Effa after becoming pregnant by her wealthy White employer, John M. Bishop.

Bertha’s husband, Benjamin Brooks, who was Black, sued Bishop and received a settlement of $10,000 before he and Bertha divorced.  Bertha later remarried, and Effa was raised in a household with a Black stepfather and Black half-siblings.

Inheriting somewhat dark skin from her mother, she chose to live as a Black person, leading most people to assume her stepfather was her biological father and to classify her as Black.

After graduation from high school in Philadelphia, she moved to New York to work in the millinery business. She met Abe Manley, an African-American man 24 years older than she, at the 1932 World Series at Yankee Stadium, where she had gone to see her favorite player, Babe Ruth

…The Newark Eagles were founded in 1936 when the Newark Dodgers merged with the Brooklyn Eagles. The Eagles sported the likes of Hall-of-Famers Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Ray Dandridge, Leon Day, and Willie Wells.  The Eagles shared Ruppert Stadium with the Newark Bears, beginning in 1936…

…In addition to managing her baseball team, Manley was also a social activist for Civil rights. She organized a boycott of Harlem stores when they wouldn’t hire Black salesclerks. It took only six weeks for the stores to give in.

As a result, one year after the boycott, 300 stores employed Blacks. She held an “Anti-Lynching Day” at Ruppert Stadium and was treasurer for the Newark chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)…

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The Most Famous Woman in Baseball: Effa Manley and the Negro Leagues

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States, Women on 2011-10-18 22:14Z by Steven

The Most Famous Woman in Baseball: Effa Manley and the Negro Leagues

Potomac Books, Inc.
March 2011
256 pages
26 b&w Images; Notes; Suggested Reading; Appendix; Index
6″ x 9″
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-59797-546-9

Bob Luke

Never one to mince words, Effa Manley once wrote a letter to sportswriter Art Carter, saying that she hoped they could meet soon because “I would like to tell you a lot of things you should know about baseball.”

From 1936 to 1948, Manley ran the Negro league Newark Eagles that her husband, Abe, owned for roughly a decade. Because of her business acumen, commitment to her players, and larger-than-life personality, she would leave an indelible mark not only on baseball but also on American history.

Attending her first owners’ meeting in 1937, Manley delivered an unflattering assessment of the league, prompting Pittsburgh Crawfords owner Gus Greenlee to tell Abe, “Keep your wife at home.” Abe, however, was not convinced, nor was Manley deterred. Like Greenlee, some players thought her too aggressive and inflexible. Others adored her. Regardless of their opinions, she dedicated herself to empowering them on and off the field. She meted out discipline, advice, and support in the form of raises, loans, job recommendations, and Christmas packages, and she even knocked heads with Branch Rickey, Bill Veeck, and Jackie Robinson.

Not only a story of Manley’s influence on the baseball world, The Most Famous Woman in Baseball vividly documents her social activism. Her life played out against the backdrop of the Jim Crow years, when discrimination forced most of Newark’s blacks to live in the Third Ward, where prostitution flourished, housing was among the nation’s worst, and only menial jobs were available. Manley and the Eagles gave African Americans a haven, Ruppert Stadium. She also proposed reforms at the Negro leagues’ team owners’ meetings, marched on picket lines, sponsored charity balls and benefit games, and collected money for the NAACP.

With vision, beauty, intelligence, discipline, and an acerbic wit, Manley was a force of nature—and, as Bob Luke shows, one to be reckoned with.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. The Lady Makes a Splash
  • 2. The Manleys Come to Baseball
  • 3. Abe Trades Brooklyn for Newark
  • 4. Effa Steps Up
  • 5. Effa Comes Into Her Own
  • 6. Fireworks
  • 7. Cobbling Together a Lineup
  • 8. War Comes to Newark
  • 9. The Eagles Adapt to the War
  • 10. Branch Rickey Drops the Color Bar
  • 11. A Reunited Team
  • 12. Striving for Respectability
  • 13. Effa’s Life After the Eagles
  • Epilogue
  • Appendix
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
  • Suggested Readings
  • About the Author
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