The Prospect Hill Yellow Jackets Athletic Club was an important institution in San Antonio’s West Side in the 1960s. It was a vehicle through which the emerging Mexican American middle-class families integrated and acculturated into the American mainstream. This project presents evidence of how organized youth sports played a major role in helping shape and define the identity of a Mexican American community in San Antonio and provided the foundation that spawned an engaged generation of achievers. Using images, maps, archival photographs and newspaper articles, obituaries, and oral histories, Adam provides examples of how the PHY athletic club played a major role in helping shape and define the identity of this Mexican American community in San Antonio. The images, maps, and photographs contextualize the story of the San Antonio Mexican American community in one West Side neighborhood, while the newspaper articles, obituaries, and interviews capture the story of the players and adult leadership of the PHY athletic club.
Using the platform, Omeka, allows a variety of media including written narratives, the display of archival photographs and other images, a map of the location of the PHY little league fields (Rosedale Park), and excerpts of oral history video and audio recordings. Photographs and images contextualize the narrative and offer insight into the importance of the Prospect Hill Yellow Jackets Athletic Club. In addition to gathering various archival photographs, Adam photographed the little league and baseball fields that are still in use today at Rosedale Park. Using these photographs through Omeka help illustrate the importance baseball had while also showing the importance Rosedale Park and baseball have today. Using a digital platform, such as Omeka, allows the audience to view digitized images and listen to audio and video recordings which provide a broader, personal experience than merely the printed word.
Adam conducted five oral histories, collected information on the Prospect Hill Yellow Jackets Athletic Club, and gained additional experience, knowledge, and confidence in conducting oral histories. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, conducting oral histories proved to be a challenge. Since many of the interviewees were not familiar with Zoom and/or did not have access to a computer, a flexible schedule was key in order to make things easy for them. Face masks were worn throughout the interview and a six-foot distance was maintained. This experience was unique and something historians conducting oral histories have not had to often contend with in the past.
Currently making a career in sports as a college-level soccer coach at St. Mary’s University, Adam felt proud to discover, learn, and produce evidence on how the PHY athletic club in the West Side of San Antonio was a vehicle for integration and acculturation into the American mainstream for Mexican Americans during the 1960s. Baseball is “America’s old pastime” and competition and “winning” meant the players belonged while maintaining their identity as Mexican Americans. For the West Side community of fans, each game was a time of fun and celebration.
You can view Adam’s digital exhibit here.