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Women in baseball: Effa Manley

August 28, 2010

I suppose it was inevitable that the first woman elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame would be named “Manley,” but if you’re not familiar with Effa Manley, do a little clicking and introduce yourself to one of the twentieth century’s true progressives in the sport. (I haven’t yet read James Overmyer’s biography of Manley, but I’m adding it to my stack.)

From her Wikipedia entry:

She displayed particular skill in the area of marketing and often scheduled promotions that advanced the civil rights movement….She worked to improve the condition of the players in the entire league. She advocated better scheduling, pay, and accommodations. Her players traveled in an air-conditioned Flxible Clipper bus, considered extravagant for the Negro Leagues….Her influence extended beyond baseball; she was active in the black civil rights movement and a social activist. As part of her work for the Citizens’ League for Fair Play, Manley organized a 1934 boycott of a Harlem stores [sic] that refused to hire black salesclerks. After six weeks, the owners of the stores gave in. A year later, 300 stores on 125th Street employed blacks. Manley was the treasurer of the Newark chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and often used Eagles games to promote civic causes. In 1939, Manley held an “Anti-Lynching Day” at Ruppert Stadium.

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