I loved the movie A League of Their Own, directed by Penny Marshall. The story is inspired by the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. It's been years since I've seen it but I still remember a lot of it. Geena Davis was fearless behind the plate, and of course the now classic scene of Tom Hanks screaming, "there's no crying in baseball."
Another smaller scene I will never forget is when the players are practicing and a ball gets away from Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell's characters. On the other side of the fence three Black woman are walking past. When asked to return the ball, one of the woman just guns it back. All the women just stare at each other for a blink of a second. The Black woman is clearly good enough to play but can't because of her race.
It's not lost on me that both examples I've given feature Black women. It's second nature for people to focus on what they feel most connected to. The trick is to recognize this and make a conscious effort to think outside of yourself.
One book I discovered last March was Amelia to Zora: Twenty-six Women who Changed the World, by Chin- Lee Megan, illustrated by Halsey Sean Addy. A few of the women featured are Babe Didrikson Zaharias, an athlete that excelled at every sport she played; Cecilia Payne Gaposchkin, an astronomer and the first female professor at Harvard University; Nawal El Sadaawi a doctor and fighter for woman's rights; Grace Hopper inventor and computer pioneer; Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit -an Indian diplomat and the first woman president of the United Nations. I love that the woman included are as diverse as their accomplishments.
It's no secret Women of Color face more obstacles in life and I am always moved by their stories. Below are a few of the ones I've loved.
The Little Piano Girl : The Story of Mary Lou Williams by Ann Ingalls and MaryAnn Macdonald, illustrated by Giselle Potter - Not only was Mary Lou Williams a jazz pianist she was also a composer and arranger. In the afterword there is a Duke Ellington quote - "Mary's music retains a standard of quality that is timeless. She is like soul on soul."
Skit Scat Raggedy Cat : Ella Fitzgerald by Roxanne Orgill, illustrated by Sean Qualls. We get a whole lot of Ella. Perfect for anyone who loves Fitzgerald's music and for those who are not familiar with her work.
Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee by Marissa Moss, illustrated by Carl Angel - One of only two Chinese American women to serve in Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program during WWII. Moss includes some wonderful photographs in the back, including one of Maggie in her uniform and Maggie's mother building Liberty ships, hardhat and all.
Side by Side/Lado a Lado by Monica Brown, illustrated by Joe Cepeda- Dolores Huerta is an activist and co founder of National Farmers Workers Association with Cesar Chavez. There are a few children's biographies on Cesar Chavez, although as far as I know this is the first one that pertains to Dolores Huerta.
All of these women refused to let anyone deny them their rightful place in history. Knowing what all they have accomplished in spite of everything fulls me with so much joy. All of these biographies make sure their contributions, successes and sacrifices are not forgotten.