Game Changer: Toni Stone

Game Changer: Toni Stone

The Radcliffe Institute conference “Game Changers: Sports, Gender, and Society” begins with this arts performance and conversation about Toni Stone, whose unprecedented athletic career had an impact on the struggle for equality and social justice in Jim Crow America.

The program features a staged reading of scenes from the play Toni Stone by playwright Lydia R. Diamond RI ’13, based on the book Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, the First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League by historian Martha Ackmann RI ’09.

The discussion that follows with Diamond, Ackmann, and Megan Sandberg-Zakian, director-in-residence at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, explores how sports—broadly defined—permeates societies and cultures, making it a revealing lens through which to understand many contemporary issues.

Free and open to the public.

The staged reading will not be videotaped.



7:30 p.m.

Welcoming Remarks

Lizabeth Cohen, Dean of the Radcliffe Institute and Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies, Department of History, Harvard University

7:45 p.m.

Game Changer: Toni Stone

Everyone can remember Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, but who remembers Toni Stone? History may have lost track of her, but Toni was never one to fade into the background. Passionate about who she wanted to be, Toni worked her way through every possible form of bias to become the first woman ever to play professional baseball as part of the Negro League. As we see Toni take her place as a member of the Indianapolis Clowns and meet a man who will shape her future, her story will captivate, surprise, anger, and inspire.

Written by Lydia Diamond RI ‘13
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Director-in-Residence, Merrimack Repertory Theatre

Immediately following the performance is a panel discussion moderated by Sean O’Donnell, associate director of Academic Ventures, Radcliffe Institute.

Martha Ackmann, Journalist and author, The Mercury 13 and Curveball
Lydia R. Diamond, Playwright, Huntington/Broadway's Stick Fly, Smart People
Nambi E. Kelley, Actor (role of Toni Stone)
Pam MacKinnon, Tony Award-winning director and Toni Stone collaborator

A public question and answer period will conclude the evening.

Toni Stone. Photo courtesy of the Negro Leagues Baseball MuseumToni Stone. Photo courtesy of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum