Robin L. Hughes chronicles experiences from the segregated Texas Prairie View League. The book focuses on the life and career of legendary basketball coach, Robert L. Hughes, and the direct influence he had on generations of young athletes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Victory Courts explores historical and socially relevant issues such as the role of family, community, education, and ways that high school and collegiate sports brought dignity and cultural change across the racially segregated Southwest during the 1950s and 1960s. Teachers in the Prairie View League schools had high expectations for their students and therefore expected nothing less that greatness. High expectations from teachers and Coach Hughes resulted in decades of outstanding academic and athletic performances from hundreds of young Black males growing up in Fort Worth during an era when racial segregation shaped their daily lives. This standard of excellence is reflected in the life experiences and high expectations of Coach Hughes who grew up on a farm in Sapulpa, Oklahoma with seven siblings. The book reveals the major influence from his mother, who during the 1930s and 1940s instilled in them a sense of social justice activism and self-pride. According to the author, it is critical to highlight more than a glimpse of the historical and family context, because, historical circumstances and one’s family tends to shape and play a significant role in determining who you are, how you see the world, and who you may become. Victory Courts is more than a sports book, it is an accessible look back on racial change, academic and athletic excellence, and the enduring high expectations and success of an extraordinary man focused on balancing his roles as educator, basketball coach, community leader, and his commitment to shaping the lives of generations of young Black men seeking their highest potential. This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in civil rights era Texas history and African American struggles for access, equity, and excellence in the classroom and on the basketball courts. An excellent book for general audiences seeking to understand the relationship between sports, race relations in Texas, and academic success, Victory Courts represents a wonderful addition to any library.
About the Author
Robin L. Hughes is an associate professor in the school of education at Indiana University, Indianapolis. She is married to William H. Arnold and has three children, Grant, Gabrielle, and Griere—all of whom must participate in sports, because Dr. Hughes believes the structured format of athletics to be a pivotal part of their development, complementary to their schools formal curriculum, and overall educational process.