An unassuming building with a gutted interior at the border of Montrose and Midtown was once a key piece in the U.S. civil rights movement.

Known as the League of United Latin American Citizens Council 60, the building is the birthplace of local and federal legislation aimed at leveling the playing field for Latinos in Houston and beyond.

One lawsuit filed by the organization led to the end of segregation for Mexican American students in Texas. Members in Houston also launched the “Little School of the 400,” a dual-language prekindergarten program that would later become a national model for early childhood education.

Since 2013, however, the building has stood vacant.

“It’s so important that we have a [historic] designation to it just to amplify the importance of the history in this building,” said Robert Gallegos, a Houston City Council member and LULAC member.

Current LULAC members, including Gallegos and former Council Member Gracie Saenz, still meet at various locations throughout the city. A fundraising effort launched in March aims to restore the clubhouse so it can serve again as a meeting place not just for LULAC, but also other community-based organizations, LULAC member Jesus Davila said.

“There’s a spirit and core of Montrose and Midtown with a lot of community groups and a lot of politicians and thoughtful leaders,” Davila said. “But there is a need for space. It makes sense to make [the clubhouse] that again because ... it was a think tank for community activation.”

After the building was damaged during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, a $140,000 grant from the financial services company American Express funded renovations to keep the structure standing. Davila and LULAC member Ray Valdez said they are working to raise $500,000 to restore the building to historic standards and make it functional for gatherings.

In addition to seeking grants, LULAC leaders established a GoFundMe campaign, and with each contribution, no matter the amount, donors will get their name placed on the clubhouse wall, Davila said.

“This is a community advocacy hub historically, and we’re trying to be reflective of that,” Davila said. “Every dollar counts.”

LULAC Council 60

3004 Bagby St., Houston


Graphics by Anya Gallant/Community Impact Newspaper