In the 1870s native Tejanos organized Sociedades Mutualistas, mutual aid societies designed to protect their interests from the growing Anglo population of Texas. Although most of the early settlers of this area were of English, French, and German descent, increasing numbers of Mexican immigrants arrived in 1893 when construction began on the city's port facilities. In 1910 the Texas City census revealed a significant Hispanic populace.
In March 1914, under the auspices of Texas City's Mexican consulate, the community established Sociedad Mutualista Mexicana (Mexican Mutual Aid Society), a descendant of the Sociedades Mutualistas. Members were offered such services as legal aid, refuge from discrimination and economic deprivation, social and cultural activities, financial loans, libraries, sickness and burial insurance, and adult education. The society's motto was "Union, Paz, y Trabajo" (Union, Peace, and Work).
While cities such as San Antonio and Corpus Christi had several societies, the memberships of which were mostly male with a few female auxiliaries, Texas City had only one. Most sociedades in Texas lasted until the Depression era. Descendants of the Sociedad in Texas City include the Comision Honorifica Mexicana (Honorable Mexican Commission) of the 1920s and 1930s and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), still strong in 1998. While LULAC is a civil rights-based organization, the Sociedad was primarily a labor rights group. The Sociedad Mutualista Mexicana was a significant element of Texas City's labor and industrial history.