Cinco de Mayo, coming up this Tuesday, has got us thinking about Latino history, which in turn got us looking into our collections related to that subject locall and regionally. Our El Editor newspapers and the papers of Bidal Aguero, for example, are used regularly by our patrons. A more recent addition is the records of the Lubbock Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (LHCC). While neither as fulsome as El Editor and Aguero collections, nor full of eye-popping photographs like some of our collections, it nonetheless offers insight into this facet of Lubbock, Texas’ history. Local Chambers of Commerce are critical to many communities, not just financially, but as a socially unifying force. Take for example this flyer for the LHCC’s 2007 award banquet. This event is held every year, and on that occasion featured such luminaries as Congressman Randy Neugebauer and prominent Texas Tech Univeristy figures such as former senator and then-Chancellor Kent Hance.
The LHCC had its genesis in the early 1970s when a group of local Hispanic business leaders formed Comerciantes Organizados Mexico America (COMA), a roster of which can be seen here. In fact, business leader Bidal Aguero (founder of the aforementioned El Editor and long-time organizer in local politics ranging from the La Raza Unida party to lawsuits against LISD) was key to starting both the COMA and the LHCC. COMA actually ceased operations during the handful of years Aguero was not present in Lubbock in the mid-1970s, but returned strong until its slow metamorphosis into the LHCC.
While the LHCC was helping businesses to grow and develop over the course of decades, its own growth and development expanded noticeably in 2001 when it was named as the Small Chamber of the Year in statewide and national competitions. The term “small chamber” refers to cities below 200,000 in population (a level that Lubbock has since surpassed.) The LHCC’s success was based on its close involvement with a growing Lubbock Hispanic population. Just look at these portions of a study they conducted using the 2000 U.S. Census (part of reams of such documents in the LHCC Records.) Fully 27.5% of Lubbock’s population was Hispanic at that time. Latinos were present in every neighborhood in the city limits, and the population has only increased over the intervening 15 years.
Events such as the LHCC’s “Step up to Success” in 2005, seen above and below, were also successful. The LHCC had become a significant force for the promotion of Latino business by that time, so much so that by 2008 the organization was ready to take its next big step. That April, its membership voted to become a part of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, thereby expanding their influence. The Lubbock Chamber’s membership was quick to approve the merger, and subsequently the Hispanic Business Division of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce was formed.
The LHCC’s story is much fuller than that presented here, of course. But if you’d like to get an idea of the larger picture (or if you’re curious about this or any of the other collections mentioned above), our Reference Staff would be happy to arrange a chance for you to peruse the records. So head on over!