Building Communities
Mexican-American Fast-Pitch Softball
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June Events

 

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Mexican-American Fast-Pitch Softball Trailer
Mexican-American Fast-Pitch Softball Trailer
Sports build community. If you want proof, look no further than "Building Communities: Mexican-American Fast-Pitch Softball Leagues," an upcoming KHC-supported oral history project exploring softball's impact on community and cultural identity in Kansas City.

What is Mexican-American Fast-Pitch Softball? It was supposed be a way to force Mexican-Americans to assimilate into U.S. culture.

Instead, for Mexican-Americans across Kansas, from Garden City to Newton to Kansas City, baseball and softball became cultural cornerstones of their communities for generations.

It's not unusual for sons to play on the same teams their fathers-or their grandfathers-played on when they were young. (And as fast-pitch has grown in popularity among women's teams, daughters have started getting in on the action, too.)

According to a 2013 story on KCUR Public Radio, the strong family lineage involved in the game is just one example of how this sport, created by U.S. assimilation projects in the early twentieth century, grew into something that helps affirm Mexican-American culture.

On Sunday, June 14, Gene Chávez presents "Building Communities: Mexican-American Fast-Pitch Softball" at the Wyandotte County Historical Society in Bonner Springs. Chávez will discuss El Centro's oral history project chronicling the relationships and shared identities of Kansas City's Mexican-American softball leagues. A companion exhibition will be on display at the Kansas City Museum in Kansas City, MO, July 11 - September 6th.

 

"Building Communities: Mexican-American Fast-Pitch Softball Leagues" is supported by a KHC Heritage grant and is part of Hometown Teams in Kansas.
You can bring Gene Chávez's Speakers Bureau presentation, "Fast-Pitch Softball and the Mexican American Communities of Kansas" or one of the Hometown Teams Speakers Bureau presentations to your community. Click here to view the Speakers Bureau catalog and find out how. Contact Leslie Von Holten, KHC Director of Programs, for more information.

Banner Image courtesy of the Newton Kansans