When I learned that She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story had been nominated for the American Library Association’s 2011 Amelia Bloomer List, I was so proud. According to the Amelia Bloomer Policies and Procedures, their goal is: “To select from the current year’s publications books with strong feminist messages for young people from birth to age 18.”
I’ve always believed the story Effa Manley told with her life was an inspiring one, an important one. I hadn’t given much conscious thought to the question of whether or not it was a feminist one.
What appeals to me so much about Effa’s story is the unflinching way she always proceeded. When something was wrong, she sought to right it. When something needed doing, she did it. The fact that she was the only female executive in Negro League Baseball didn’t seem to register to her. Her team needed certain tasks accomplished, and so she accomplished them. With aplomb.
There are lots of ways to define feminist–but if I tried to come up with a better example than that, I’m not sure I could.
The introduction to last year’s Amelia Bloomer Award List stated: “this bibliography is intended to highlight feminist books examining women’s history, those that celebrate women who have blazed trails, and those that describe problems and identify solutions for situations we face today.”
If we’re smart, and I’m pretty sure we are, we might want to think about that a little as we look ahead. A new year provides an annual opportunity to rethink how we do what we do. The good people at the Amelia Bloomer Project have given us a pretty good guide. Let’s highlight, celebrate, blaze trails, identify solutions. Let’s do all of that.