An All-American education
By Emily Voss
Last week, a class of eighth grade students from Fort Washington, Pa., got quite a surprise when they connected with the Baseball Hall of Fame for Dirt on Their Skirts, a videoconference lesson on women’s history as part of the Museum’s education program.
If this had been a normal videoconference, the students and I would have spent about an hour discussing 150 years of women who broke barriers to play the National Pastime.
But this videoconference was different.
We reviewed female players of the 19th century, such as Alta Weiss and the Vassar College Resolutes, who played the game long before they had the right to vote. Then, as the lesson brought us into the 20th century, the students were introduced to a very special guest: Dolly Brumfield White, a player from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
At the age of 14, Dolly became one of the youngest players to ever join the AAGPBL when she was signed by the South Bend Blue Sox in 1947. Dolly played in the league from ’47 to 1953, not only with the Blue Sox but also with the Kenosha Comets and the Fort Wayne Daisies. She was primarily an infielder, and a tremendous threat at the plate, leading the Comets in hitting in 1951 and finishing second in the league after batting .332 for Fort Wayne in 1953.
Now living in Arkansas, Dolly was in town for the Hall of Fame’s Salute to Women in Baseball program which took place on March 27.
The students from Fort Washington, Pa., enjoyed a rare opportunity to find out about the experiences of women in baseball from someone with first-hand knowledge of the subject. Dolly is a great storyteller, and she entertained as well as informed the students with tales from her life in the AAGPBL. The students were able to ask questions of Dolly as well.
Although we can’t always promise that our education programs will include former baseball players, we draw upon our remarkable Hall of Fame resources, such as archived audio, video and still images to enhance the experiences of students who connect with us via videoconference.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum currently offers 15 baseball-themed curriculum units to schools nationwide through videoconference programs. The current curriculum units include mathematics, American history, leadership, labor history, fine arts, character education, cultural diversity, communication arts, economics, civil rights, pop culture, geography, industrial technology, science and – of course – women’s history.
Emily Voss is a school programs associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.