FIRST MEXICAN BAPTIST CHURCH
During the years 1910-1930 Mexican migration to the United States grew exponentially as a result of political turmoil in Mexico & farm labor shortages in the United States. The Mexican Revolution (1910 & 1920) & the Cristero War (1926-1929) forced war refugees & political exiles to seek a better life in the US.
As a result, legal immigrants grew from 20,000 per year during the 1910s to 50,000 - 100,000 per year during the 1920s. Chinatown’s First Mexican Baptist Church was a reflection of the growing number of Mexicans in the neighborhood & treatment of thereafter. This was the first church that was constructed specifically for Fresno’s Mexican community.
Members of the congregation did the majority of the construction of the church & in 1924 the church was completed for a total cost of $25,000. The church has been a light to the community & not just its own congregation. In the past the church featured a Christian health clinic & a Hispanic Masonic Lodge. The Lodge sponsored burials for those members of the congregation who could not pay for their own.
1061 E Street,
Fresno, CA 93706
ANTI-LATINO DISCRIMINATION IN AMERICA
The political upheaval caused by the Mexican War & Cristero Wars during the early 19th century forced war refugees & political exiles to seek safety in the U.S. This coupled with a desperate need for cheap labor by American employers led to a massive wave of Mexicans.
Although Latinos were critical to the US economy they were segregated into urban barrios in poor areas, they were segregated from schools, restaurants & movie theaters & were even subject to illegal deportation & lynching. Anti-latino sentiment only grew during the late 1920s as the Great Depression began. As unemployment grew, Americans accused Mexicans of stealing their jobs.
During these turbulent times, the First Mexican Baptist Church served as a place of refuge for the growing Mexican community. Shining like a beacon in the dark, the church helped all those in search of community & healing.