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Chicano historian to speak on high school basketball under segregation

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
October 13, 2014

Ignacio Garcia

Ignacio Garcia

Historian and writer Ignacio Garcia will talk on "Constructing a Mexican American Powerhouse While Remaining Colorblind" Oct. 21 at Texas State University as part of the Center for the Study of the Southwest's Fall 2014 series on Latinos and Sports in the Southwest.

Garcia will also sign copies of his latest book, When Mexicans Could Play Ball: Basketball, Race and Identity in San Antonio, 1928-1945. The talk and signing will take place at the Wittliff Collections in Alkek Library beginning at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Garcia’s talk will discuss how William Carson “Nemo” Herrera built a strong basketball program at Sidney Lanier High School, winning two state championships and numerous regional ones with boys from the barrios of the West Side of San Antonio during the World War II years. While Herrera understood the difficulties under which his players labored both on and off the basketball courts, he remained steadfast in teaching his players a colorblind approach to sports. Through his efforts, his boys came of age as Mexican Americans with an ethnic and racial pride that spread out into the community and makes them heroes to this day. 

Garcia is the Lemuel Hardison Redd, Jr. Professor of Western and Latino History at Brigham Young University. He is the author of six books on Chicano politics, civil rights, and sports, including Viva Kennedy: Mexican Americans in Search of Camelot (Texas A&M University Press, 2000), which won the Texas State Historical Association’s Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize for Best Book on Texas History.

Public parking is available in the nearby LBJ Student Center garage. For more information, contact Tammy Gonzales, Center for the Study of the Southwest, at (512) 245-2224 or tammyg@txstate.edu.

Campus cosponsors for the Latino and Sports in the Southwest series include the Wittliff Collections, the Departments of Modern Languages and History, the Office of Equity and Access, Texas State Athletics and the Center for Diversity and Gender Studies.