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Queen Pin

The Story of Yvonne Barnes
and The Motown Records Bowlerettes

At the volatile dawn of integration, Yvonne Barnes, a young apolitical African American woman, finds herself at the forefront of the racial battle for justice by establishing the nation’s first African American professional women’s bowling team to defeat the best white female pro teams in the nation.

Before realizing her success as a professional bowler, Yvonne’s story was one of love, pain, sacrifice, courage, commitment, triumph, and Black pride. She grew up in a family that had some of the most respected, valued, and admired citizens in the community, while simultaneously having some of the most disparaged and despised. Yvonne’s older and closest brother was reported to be one of the largest heroin dealers in the Midwest United States, and her closest sister handled the books for one of Detroit’s most notorious illegal numbers operators, whereas, in contrast, her youngest brother was a nationwide celebrated minister of the gospel.

She had tremendous challenges as a young girl as well as extraordinary accomplishments. You will laugh and cheer with her when she’s victorious and will cry with her and lament when she encounters to defeat. She boldly and fearlessly challenged racial barriers becoming affectionately known as the “Rosa Parks” of bowling. Yvonne was a true pioneer in the field of professional women’s bowling. She was also a trailblazer in youth bowling circles.

Following the tradition of the multiple award-winning feature films Hidden Figures and A League Of Their Own, Yvonne’s life story and accomplishments and the other daring women that comprised the championship Motown Records Bowlerettes team must be told. It is a true story of the determination and dedication of the human spirit. Yvonne Barnes was destined, if only for a moment, to change the face of females in professional bowling from “Lilly white” to “Ebony Black.” These six tenacious Black women should not be denied their permanent place in the history of professional women’s bowling. Yvonne’s indomitable spirit and relentless pursuit of always performing her best is an inspiration to Black bowlers and us all. In 1991 Yvonne Barnes was elected to the Greater Detroit Bowlers Hall Of Fame for her “outstanding performance in the game of bowling.”

Why Read it?

Why Read it?

Queen Pin

Queen Pin – The Story of Yvonne Barnes and The Motown Records Bowlerettes is a fascinating historical narrative of Yvonne Barnes, called the “Rosa Parks” of Bowling. Readers will learn how she broke the color line in bowling and put together the first all-black team of professional women bowlers who beat the best white female bowlers in the nation. They will also know how she formed the largest youth league in the United States and why her team was sponsored by Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Jr. The women of the Motown Records Bowlerettes join a list of great African American women who were the first in sports, like Althea Gibson, in tennis, Wilma Rudolph, in track and field and Gabby Douglas in gymnastics, to name a few.

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Queen pin, The Story of Yvonne Barnes and The Motown Records Bowlerettes

Ebonettes Major Classic League, Detroit, MI – Circa 1960
Yvonne, middle row, far left.