I found this book on the new releases section of my library and was really intrigued by it. I’m not much of a sports fan so I didn’t know anything about Effa. She was an amazing woman! From a young age Effa loved Baseball. she played it with her siblings in the yard and attended every game she could once she moved to New York City. While thrilling to the prowess of Babe Ruth during the 1932 World Series Effa met a very nice man who shared her love of the sport : Abe Manley.
The two soon married and spent many wonderful times in Harlem. Effa had a knack for noticing injustices. When she noticed that many of Harlem’s stores didn’t have black employees she organized the Citizen’s League for Fair Play. Through peaceful protests and boycotts the Citizens brought attention to the lack of employee diversity and eventually swayed the Harlem merchants to began hiring black employees.
In 1935 Effa and Abe formed their own Negro Baseball League, The Newark Eagles. In 1936 The Eagles moved to New Jersey and Effa was managing all the teams contracts and travel arrangements. Called “Mother Hen” by her players, Effa made sure her players had the best uniforms and safe traveling buses. Effa encouraged all her players to participate in community service activities and even got them jobs during the off season.
When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball Effa found the stars of her team and others in the Negro Leagues being recruited, without anything being given to the teams who had groomed them.
Effa talked to the press about the differences between White and black players being recruited and asked Why it should be different.
Effa’s talks to the press paid off when the Cleveland Indians owner Larry Doby began recruitment of Don Newcombe. In 1947 he paid the Eagles $15,000 after signing Don. After that team owners paid Negro League Owners fees for their players contracts.
Time passed and Effa saw the Negro leagues dissolve . In the 70’s Effa began a letter writing campaign to give recognition to players from the Negro Leagues in The Baseball Hall of Fame.
Her efforts lead to recognition for many players and in 1986, 5 years after her death Effa Manley was the first woman to ever be honored in the Hall of fame. Such a wonderful and inspiring read. I loved Effa’s tenacity and the fact that she used persistence and peaceful protests as a path to success.