Daniel: Meghan Markle’s ancestors’ life as Jazz Age stars and baseball great

From Hugo Daniel at the Daily Mail on June 4, 2018, with mention of SABR member Phil S. Dixon:

It is a family story already known to touch on the horrors of slavery and the glamor of royalty. 

Now Meghan Markle can be disclosed to have close links to some of baseball’s most storied names, and to a jazz performer who shocked by cross-dressing and whose career made her one of the greatest acts of the 1920s.

DailyMail.com has uncovered the extraordinary full story of the new Duchess of Sussex’s great-great-aunt Lillie Evans, a successful realtor, and her husband William, a black baseball player at a time when the game was segregated, and his parents, jazz performers at the birth of vaudeville.

Although the link sounds tenuous, Meghan in fact knew her great-great aunt well. The older woman died when Meghan was 22, leaving her Los Angeles house to her nephew, Meghan’s grandfather Alvin Ragland, who in turn left it to his daughter Doria. 

Her great-great uncle William died when she was five, and it is unclear exactly how much of his extraordinary life story Meghan – and indeed, her mother Doria – know.

DailyMail.com first revealed, just before Meghan married Prince Harry last month, that William Demont Evans Jr was a star black baseball player nicknamed ‘Happy’ in the 1920s and 1930s, before Jackie Robinson finally broke the color bar and the game became desegregated. 

Evans was one of the country’s black stars, playing with the Homestead Grays when the team from just outside Pittsburgh was at its most successful in 1931 and 1932, winning those year’s equivalent of the World Series for the Negro Leagues.

Read the full article here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5773077/Meghan-Markles-great-great-uncle-played-against-legends-Babe-Ruth-Lou-Gehrig.html

Originally published: June 5, 2018. Last Updated: June 5, 2018.