Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2015

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 01/31/2020

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Health and Sport Studies

First Advisor

Parratt, Catriona

First Committee Member

Birrell, Susan

Second Committee Member

Lomax, Michael

Third Committee Member

Thaggert, Miriam

Fourth Committee Member

Whaley, Deborah E


Imagine for a moment waking up one morning to find that what or with whom you had come to identify racially was built on a foundation of ambiguities, silences, deceptions and sacred secrets. This scenario offers snapshot of Effa Louisa Brooks Manley’s life on the color line. Manley, former co-owner of the Negro League Baseball franchise (1935-1948), the Newark Eagles, disrupts American notions about what it means to be Black or white. A white mother and two black stepfathers raised her with her siblings as a Negro. However, it was not until Manley was a teenager that her mother revealed to her that her biological father also racially identified as white. This study examines the way Effa Manley performed identity at the boundaries of blackness and whiteness from the turn of the 20th century through 1945. I argue that Manley was more than a white woman who simply passed for Black. She reconciled being Black and becoming white, by exploiting the American mythology of race and culturally identified as a Negro. I explore how her self-identification complicates racial and ethnic belonging, by analyzing the identity choices she made while traversing the fault lines of race in her early life as well as the way she performed identity in the interviews she gave before her death in 1981.


African American, Identity, Passing, Race, Sport History, Women in Sport


x, 191 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 187-191).


Copyright © 2015 Marta Notai Mack-Washington