The House of David had many of the characteristics of a typical cult: a charismatic leader, apocalyptic beliefs, communal living, and strict prohibitions on sex, alcohol, and cutting one’s hair.
But they also allowed women members to vote and hold office, ran an amusement park, sent traveling bands on the vaudeville circuit — and formed a sensational baseball team.
With their long hair and beards, the House of David players drew massive crowds as they barnstormed around the country.
They were exciting. They were proud. They were incredibly good. They were the Detroit Stars, the legendary Black baseball team that captivated the hearts and souls of Negro National League baseball fans in Detroit and beyond from 1919 to 1933. While White major league players, such as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, were deemed the superstars of baseball in their playing days, there were numerous Black players of the era who were just as good — if not better — but never got the recognition or opportunity to showcase their talents to the world, simply because their skin was black.
Rosemary Stevenson, a member of a nearly extinct group, stands in the middle of the Lee High School gym speaking into a microphone to a crowd of no more then twenty. The small audience, holding pictures of Stevenson along with bats and balls signed by the seventy- five year-old baseball player, hangs on her every word. Flanking her on both sides are two women, Marilyn Jenkins and Doris Cook, adding in bits to her story and then taking their own turn to illuminate the fans.