Effa Manley: American Baseball legend
I didn’t look like my Negro sisters. So when I went to places for Negroes only, people said I was in the wrong place. They were right. I never belonged in places that separated Negroes and whites. But take me to a baseball stadium—and I could see freedom forever! Yankee Stadium is where I met Abraham Lincoln Manley. That old man loved me so much, he took me—a young light-skinned girl—to Tiffany’s and bought me a five-carat diamond. Then do you know what he bought me? A baseball team!! A baseball team!! Abe made me co-owner of the Newark Eagles! And then he made me manager, 'cause he believed in me even before I did. But I still kept fighting for civil rights. Because prejudice wasn’t going away. Why should I? Some people called me a sore spot. But others called me a game changer. Because I knew when to swing. When to bunt. And when to walk away. Our most important success was the Eagles' victory in the Negro League World series! Some of our top players—Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, and Don Newcome—went on to the majors. So many others followed them there, that in 1948, Abe and I sold the team. Abe passed a few years later, but I kept working to make sure that the men of the Negro League weren’t forgotten. It was a glorious time both on the field and off. I lived and breathed that dusty game. Oh, I loved baseball.