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51% #1651: The Story Of Baseball's Leading Lady

Andrea Williams
Courtesy of Andrea Williams
Andrea Williams

On this week’s 51%, the author of a book about baseball’s leading lady hopes girls read the story and find out why storyteller Jeri Burns is talking turkey long after Thanksgiving.

In her new book, “Baseball’s Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues,” Andrea Williams tells the story of the woman at the center of the Black baseball world. Manley was the elegant yet gutsy owner and co-manager of the Newark Eagles - a team she cultivated into a powerhouse. Yet with calls for integration gaining steam, so did the threat of losing all that she had built. Williams details the rise and fall of Negro Leagues Baseball, shedding light on an important yet little known part of Black and American history.

That was author and journalist Andrea Williams talking about her book “Baseball’s Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues.” It is published by Roaring Book Press. Williams worked in marketing and development for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, before turning to writing full-time.

So the song… the famous “Take Me Out to the Ball Game?” Well, one of the 1908 tune’s writers is Jack Norwith, and the song is an ode to his girlfriend — suffragist and vaudeville actress Trixie Friganza, There are a few verses that you probably haven’t heard at the stadium, like this one, in part:

At the beginning of March, Rapper and Actor Ice Cube announced an updated version of ‘Contract with Black America’ that outlines longstanding specific issues facing Black American women and the sports industry with a set of tactical solutions, along with additional updates throughout the contract. The original contract was announced this past summer and spurred a string of political conversations around racial and economic equality in America. ‘Contract with Black America’ now includes an additional section dedicated to highlighting the many concerns facing Black American women. Under the Sports Industry Economic Development Plan, the contract outlines solutions to the systemic racism engulfing sports today.

And now Dr. Jeri Burns talks turkey.

Dr. Jeri Burns is a storyteller, writer and educator living in New York's Hudson Valley. You can find her at storycrafters.com. Burns also is an adjunct professor in the Department of Communication at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

That’s our show for this week. Thanks to Tina Renick for production assistance. Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. If you’d like to hear this show again, sign up for our podcast, or visit the 51% archives on our web site at wamc.org. And follow us on Twitter @51PercentRadio

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