Today, Aztlan Park teems with picnicking families, children laughing on the playground, and basketball games. But in the first half of the 20th century, the setting was one of the area's largest migrant labor camps, known as both “Mexican Town” and the “Chihuahua District.”
Thousands of Mexican migrants and braceros slept in tents or ramshackle rowhouses at night and worked the nearby cotton fields or railroad lines by day. A strong, yet impoverished community developed. Conditions at the overcrowded camp worsened during the Great Depression, as did the discrimination and segregation experienced by residents outside the camp.
Though a tornado destroyed the majority of the neighborhood in 1970, the park remains a tribute to Lubbock's Tejano roots and the large Hispanic population. A vibrant mural, painted by Emanuel Martinez in 1994, reminds visitors of Aztlan Park's historical significance.