Making Mexican Chicago


Thursday, April 28, 2022

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Central Time (US & Canada)
Ruggles Hall


This program is free and open to all; free tickets required. The registration period has closed for this event.

The Newberry is using new registration system for our free public programs; please create an account if you haven't. After clicking the 'Register Now' button, you'll be prompted to either input your login information or click 'Create an Account and Register.'


In Making Mexican Chicago, 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.

Purchase Making Mexican Chicago online from the Newberry Bookshop.

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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We look forward to seeing attendees at the Newberry, where you can now visit our reading rooms, exhibition galleries, and bookshop.

Please note: This program will be held in person at the Newberry. As we welcome visitors to the library, we're continuing to closely monitor health and safety conditions related to COVID-19 in Chicago. Click here for our visitor policy.


James R Akerman is Director of the Newberry’s Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography and Curator of Maps at the Newberry Library. He is the author of many studies of the social and political aspects of mapping, transportation and travel cartography, and the history of atlases. He is 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. His writing has appeared in multiple scholarly and popular outlets, including the Washington Post, the Journal of American History, The Sixties, and The Abusable Past 


Ruggles Hall

Newberry Library
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610

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