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Author recalls important inning of Mexican American history

FrairePULLMAN, Wash. – Baseball, family history and Mexican American community identity load the bases in a peer-reviewed article by a Washington State University administrator in the recent issue of the Indiana Magazine of History.

John Fraire, vice president for student affairs, teams the story of his own family’s multi-generational play with the larger perspective on how community baseball both reinforced Mexican identity and pride and helped immigrants incorporate into U.S. society.

Fraire-family
The author, front, with his brothers and father in 1960 outside their home in Gary, Ind.

His article offers a history and personal reminiscence of Los Gallos and Las Gallinas – two Mexican American baseball teams active in the Indiana Harbor neighborhood of East Chicago in the 1930s and 40s.

“Rather than facing the choice of becoming either more U.S./American or less Mexican,” he writes, “members of this ethnic community could and did develop both identities (and many more). In the act of playing organized baseball, they made visible their multiple cultural allegiances and practices.

“For Indiana Harbor’s Mexican residents, baseball played a small but significant role in the process of joining the industrial working class while forging a new understanding of what it meant to be Mexican American/Chicano.”

The complete article is available via subscription at http://www.indiana.edu/~imaghist/.

Published continuously since 1905, the Indiana Magazine of History is one of the nation’s oldest historical journals. Since 1913, the IMH has been edited and published quarterly at Indiana University, Bloomington. It features peer-reviewed historical articles, research notes, annotated primary documents, reviews and critical essays that contribute to public understanding of midwestern and Indiana history.

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