Oberlin Girls, an amateur African American women’s team from Chicago that competed during the 1930s. While the name might have come from progressive Oberlin College, in Ohio, the team itself when it was formed in the spring of 1931 was made up of an all-star lineup of some of the best black female players in Chicago, most of whom were playing for two teams of the Union Church League, the Olivet Baptist Church Cosmopolitans and the from the Metropolitan Community Church Girls.
Olivet girls were Anna Belle Williams, Evelyn Brooks, and Ruth Reese; and Metropolitan girls were Lula Porter and Elizabeth Cornwall. The team was led by star player Virginia Willis, who had previously played for the Roamer Girls, Savoy Colts, and the Olivet Cosmopolitans. Porter and Williams were also both veterans of the Roamers, as well as another veteran on the team, Corrine Robinson.
In 1931, the Central AAU, under the sponsorship of the Chicago Herald and Examiner, revived its annual women’s competition, which had been moribund since 1927. It appears that the Oberlin Girls, given its collection of veteran stars, were an ad hoc team put together for the sole purpose of competing in the tournament. They took third place in the tournament, making the final four, after beating another African American team, the Chicago Whippets, and then the Harvey Boosters (formerly Bloomers) in the quarterfinals, 15-11. They lost the semifinal game to the Jones and Winter team, 21-13, but beat the Cooperatives from Waukegan, 18-16, in the third place game.
What may have started out as an ad hoc team became permanent, as the Oberlin Girls continued to stay together in subsequent seasons. The last mention of the team dates from March of 1934, where the Chicago Defender reported on the Oberlin Girls getting beat in a best of three series by a north side white team, the Baby Ruth Girls, one of the better AAU teams during the 1930s. In December 1934, Virginia Willis, Ruth Reese, and Lula Porter would all join the newly formed Club Store Coeds, which became the dominant women’s black team in Chicago during the 1930s. This migration probably put an end to the Oberlin Girls.