History | Buffalo | Latino Communities
Mexicans continued to arrive in Buffalo in small numbers throughout the early part of the 20th century, and they formed the Junta Patriótica Mexicana to socialize and share their ethnic heritage. In 1947, they formally organized the Central Social Club Mexicano in Lackawanna. The club sponsored social events and celebrated Mexican national holidays. With the construction of its own building, it became a busy center for the community. Women club members also had their own group, the Club Latino Norteamericano de Mujeres.
During the World War II manpower shortage, Mexicans continued to arrive in the area to fill jobs left vacant by men leaving for the service. They worked as braceros to maintain the railroad lines; filled jobs in the steel plant, factories and mills; and also worked as migrant farm labor. Unfortunately, when servicemen came back from the war, many Mexicans lost their jobs. Those who had been brought to Buffalo as migrant labor went back to Mexico, while other Mexicans who had immigrated to Buffalo located to other areas to find work. By 1950, the Mexican community of the greater Buffalo metropolitan area consisted of a population of 203 residents. The economic decline that followed the closing of mills in succeeding years forced many of those residents to migrate to Chicago and other major urban areas. The result was that the Centro Social Club Mexicano became inactive.
Ethnic heritage: Culture and traditions of race or social group.
Braceros: Meaning “strong arm,” Mexican migrant labor
brought to the U.S. in order to fill a labor need.
Greater Buffalo metropolitan area: The geographic area and towns surrounding the City of Buffalo.