LULAC, or the League of United Latin American Citizens, was formed in 1929 by three Mexican American organizations in response to decades of anti-Mexican violence. This national organization—which has challenged legal and cultural injustice throughout its existence—was one of the most influential Latino civil rights groups of the 20th century.
While its contributions to Latino civil rights have made a lasting impact on thousands of lives, LULAC is still relatively unknown outside of the American Southwest. And the historic Clubhouse for LULAC Council 60 in Houston, Texas, one of the most influential chapters of the organization, faces an uncertain future.
The modest, two-story stucco building that became LULAC Council 60’s home was originally built in 1907 and purchased in 1955 for the use of their members. Council 60 was at the center of Mexican American political organizing in Houston during the 1950s and ‘60s, a formative time in civil rights history. Its Clubhouse served as the de facto national headquarters of LULAC throughout most of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. (The organization’s national office in Washington, D.C., was not established until 1996.)
Community Comes Together To Restore Historic LULAC Clubhouse
By Olivia P. Tallet
“We want people to know this LULAC Clubhouse that serves as an icon of the Mexican American civil rights movement,” said Ray Valdez, chair of C 60 Inc., a nonprofit established to restore the building. “We want to preserve it and renew its use so that people can come by and be proud of all that Latinos have accomplished.”
Council 60, active since the mid-1930s, initiated numerous court cases against discrimination, said Preuss.One of the most notorious was Delgado v. Bastrop in 1948, “the first Texas case since the 1930s to rule against public school segregation of Mexican American students,” Preuss said.
A year later, Council 60 board members bought the stucco house on Bagby Street, becoming the first time a LULAC council in the United States was able to own a building for its operations, Preuss said. It continues to be the only clubhouse owned by a chapter of the organization in the country, said Valdez.