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The Sports Revolution

The Sports Revolution
How Texas Changed the Culture of American Athletics

The story of Texas’s impact on American sports culture during the civil rights and second-wave feminist movements, this book offers a new understanding of sports and society in the state and the nation as a whole.

Series: The Texas Bookshelf

March 2021
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432 pages | 6 x 9 | 44 b&w photos |

In the 1960s and 1970s, America experienced a sports revolution. New professional sports franchises and leagues were established, new stadiums were built, football and basketball grew in popularity, and the proliferation of television enabled people across the country to support their favorite teams and athletes from the comfort of their homes. At the same time, the civil rights and feminist movements were reshaping the nation, broadening the boundaries of social and political participation. The Sports Revolution tells how these forces came together in the Lone Star State.

Tracing events from the end of Jim Crow to the 1980s, Frank Guridy chronicles the unlikely alliances that integrated professional and collegiate sports and launched women’s tennis. He explores the new forms of inclusion and exclusion that emerged during the era, including the role the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders played in defining womanhood in the age of second-wave feminism. Guridy explains how the sexual revolution, desegregation, and changing demographics played out both on and off the field as he recounts how the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers and how Mexican American fans and their support for the Spurs fostered a revival of professional basketball in San Antonio. Guridy argues that the catalysts for these changes were undone by the same forces of commercialization that set them in motion and reveals that, for better and for worse, Texas was at the center of America’s expanding political, economic, and emotional investments in sport.

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Sports in the Shadow of Segregation
  • Chapter 2. Spaceships Land in the Texas Prairie
  • Chapter 3. The Outlaws
  • Chapter 4. We’ve Come a Long Way to Houston
  • Chapter 5. Labor and Lawlessness in Rangerland
  • Chapter 6. Sexual Revolution on the Sidelines
  • Chapter 7. The Greek, the Iceman, and the Bums
  • Chapter 8. Slammin’ and Jammin’ in Houston
  • Conclusion: The Revolution Undone
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index

Frank Guridy is an associate professor of history and African American and African diaspora studies at Columbia University. He is the author of the award-winning book Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow and a co-editor of Beyond el Barrio: Everyday Life in Latina/o America. His work has appeared in Radical History Review, Caribbean Studies, Social Text, Cuban Studies, Kalfou, the Journal of Sport History, and Public Books.


“[Guridy] has a keen eye for turning and tipping points, and his lucid narrative serves his thesis well. Sports buffs will find Guridy’s explorations rewarding.”

“[An] illuminating survey...This is a fascinating and meticulously researched gem for sports buffs.”
Publishers Weekly

“A remarkable look at how the intersection of resistance movements and Texas athletics changed the USA forever.”
The Nation's "Edge of Sports"

“Guridy makes a case that the Texas sports revolution of the sixties and seventies was every bit as history-making as Jackie Robinson’s impact on baseball and post–World War II America, or the impact on both sports and popular culture of such contemporary athletes as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Serena Williams...While any work of history is also meant to say something about the present moment, this book feels especially timely.”
Texas Monthly

“A fascinating look at the game-changers and trendsetters, on and off the field, who not only made Texas great but helped build the American sports landscape...History is never boring. Sports history is even better. And as you might imagine, Texas sports history is bigger and better. Guridy’s effort is worthy of applause.”
Houston Chronicle

The Sports Revolution is my kind of book: it connects the dots that form the sports picture we all take for granted, and it does it all in Texas, where sports and race, big business and big dreamers, have intersected to simultaneously transform what we watch and how we live. An extremely significant and long overdue book.”
Howard Bryant, Author of The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism

“Damn, I love this book! It is at once a comprehensive history of sports and a history of the inner workings of sport as an industry, as a source of entertainment, and as a huge factor in how media developed in the postwar period. At the center of the book are athletes: athletes who came of age bearing the legacies of Jim Crow and segregation and patriarchy while entangling in Black Power and civil rights and the second wave of feminism. A terrific writer and scholar, Frank Guridy brings to their stories a remarkable attention to detail, engaging play-by-play descriptions, and a gift for showing readers how small moments fit into the bigger picture. This is an essential contribution not just to Texas history and sport history but to American history.”
Amy Bass, Manhattanville College, One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together

“Indoor sports played on plastic grass, wildcatter businessmen turned sports entrepreneurs, the dawn of professional athletics for women, a fraternal order of high-flying basketball players, the Iceman cometh in San Antonio, and cheerleaders revolt in Dallas—this was the sports scene in Texas from the 1960s to the 1980s, decades that radically rewove the American sports fabric and gave a boost to both the civil rights and feminist movements. In The Sports Revolution, Frank Guridy guides us through this defining and colorful era, on and off the field, introducing us to its equally distinctive characters along the way. An in-depth sports read with an entertaining dose of history.”
Michael Hurd, Author of Thursday Night Lights: The Story of Black High School Football in Texas


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This book may also be available on the following library platforms; check with your local library:
3M Cloud Library/bibliotheca