On January 11, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church’s McDonnell Hall was designated as National Historic Landmark by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.
The National Historic Landmarks Program recognizes historic properties of exceptional value to the nation and promotes the preservation efforts of federal, state, and local agencies and Native American tribes, as well as those of private organizations and individuals. The program is one of more than a dozen administered by the National Park Service that provide states and local communities technical assistance, recognition and funding to help preserve our nation’s shared history and create close-to-home recreation opportunities.
“These 24 new designations depict different threads of the American story that have been told through activism, architecture, music, and religious observance,” said Secretary Jewell. “Their designation ensures future generations have the ability to learn from the past as we preserve and protect the historic value of these properties and the more than 2,500 other landmarks nationwide.”
According to a press release, McDonnell Hall connected the Mexican American civil rights movement, Catholic ministry to ethnic Mexicans, and ongoing efforts to organize ethnic Mexican migrant farmworkers. The chapel was the home for the Community Service Organization (CSO) whose work helped to spur the emergence of César Chávez as a community organizer, civil rights leader, and labor rights leader between 1952 and 1962. The work carried out at the chapel ultimately helped shape modern American Latino identity.