Event—Public Programming

Making Mexican Chicago

Mike Amezcua visits the Newberry to discuss how the Windy City became a postwar Latinx metropolis in the face of white resistance.


This program will be held in person at the Newberry. Please register for free in advance here.

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In Making Mexican Chicago: From Postwar Settlement to the Age of Gentrification, Mike Amezcua offers a powerful multiracial history of Chicago that sheds new light on the origins and endurance of urban inequality. Amezcua visits the Newberry to discuss how the Windy City became a postwar Latinx metropolis in the face of white resistance.

Though Chicago is often popularly defined by its Polish, Black, and Irish populations, Cook County is home to the third-largest Mexican American population in the United States. The story of Mexican immigration and integration into the city is one of complex political struggles, deeply entwined with issues of housing and neighborhood control.

In the decades after World War II, working-class Chicago neighborhoods like Pilsen and Little Village became sites of upheaval and renewal. Mexican Americans attempted to build new communities in the face of white resistance that cast them as perpetual aliens. Mike Amezcua charts the diverse strategies used by Mexican Chicagoans to fight the forces of segregation, economic predation, and gentrification, focusing on how unlikely combinations of social conservatism and real estate market savvy paved new paths for Latinx assimilation.

For this event, Amezcua will speak with James Akerman, Curator of Maps at the Newberry and the curator of the exhibition Crossings: Mapping American Journeys.

Mike Amezcua, Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Georgetown University, was recently named the co-winner of the Arnold Hirsch Award for Best Article in Urban History by the Urban History Association.

James Akerman is the Newberry’s Curator of Maps and Director of the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography.

Purchase Making Mexican Chicago online from the Newberry Bookshop.

This event is co-sponsored by Chicago Collections Consortium.

This event is being held in conjunction with Crossings: Mapping American Journeys. The exhibition runs at the Newberry from February 25 through June 25.

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