|Chicago Latino Communities|
With over 40% of students in Chicago Public Schools and increasing populations in the suburbs identifying themselves as Latino, it is crucial for teachers to incorporate the immigrant experience of the Latino community into the curriculum. Lessons from Community Beginnings is a two-part curriculum unit designed to address this demand for local Latino history in the classroom. Focused on the early years of Chicago’s Mexican and Puerto Rican immigrant communities, this curriculum unit for middle and high-school students provides teachers with a variety of primary sources along with thought-provoking questions and activities for in-classroom use.
Lessons from Community Beginnings: Chicago’s Mexican Community explores life in the Mexican colonias of Chicago during the period of 1916-1938. Lessons from Community Beginnings: Chicago’s Puerto Rican Community presents life in the early years of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago from 1940-1960. Both engage with larger historical themes of citizenship, immigration, working conditions, conflict, cooperation, and community-building in a uniquely local setting. Approaching the topic of immigrant communities through a series of case studies, Lessons from Community Beginnings uses contemporary interviews and correspondence, secondary source excerpts, graphs, maps, and photographs to allow students to weigh historical evidence and develop both a more nuanced approach to the study of history and a stronger historical connection to local immigrant communities.
FROM THE INTRODUCTION: Chicago Latino Communities History Project
Since the early 1900s Chicago’s Latino communities have contributed to the city’s political, economic, cultural and social development yet, a virtual vacuum of curriculum materials exists. In classrooms throughout the area, teachers are working to develop a respectful knowledge of Latino communities and instill a meaningful appreciation of the different communities’ contributions that have made Chicago the vibrant city that it is today. This resource provides an opportunity to integrate the Latino experience in the study of American history.
The Chicago Metro History Education Center (CMHEC) believes that it is important to define a methodology that ensures that the historical voices of Chicago’s Mexican and Puerto Rican communities be heard. CMHEC believes it is equally as important to create curriculum materials that allow for the study of the similarities as well as the differences within Latino communities. These differences in historical experience within the Latino communities have enormous implications for the conditions in which we live today.
Each unit in this series, presented as separate curriculum books, offers information on the beginnings of the Mexican and Puerto Rican communities in Chicago. The methodologies used in project-based history education, and it is recommended that these materials be used within the context of a whole language approach and a humanities approach that includes the use of the social sciences, literature and arts as well. All of the curriculum materials are intended to help develop reading, writing, critical thinking, categorizing and sequencing skills. Further, the documents reflect the activities of individuals and/or groups of individuals—a look at history that goes beyond memorizing dates or reading text in which the authors presents her/his ideas. They are designed to motivate a student to read, write and develop critical thinking skills. The Latino Communities History Project endeavors to:
Lessons from Community Beginnings: Chicago’s Mexican Community explores life in the Mexican colonias of Chicago during the period of 1916-1938.
Table of Contents
Part One: We Came Here to Work!
Part Two: We Came Here to Live!
Community Organizations, Recreation, and Religion
Repatriation or Deportation
Download Lessons from Community Beginnings: Chicago’s Mexican Community (pdf)
(1 of 3) Teacher Background Material
(2 of 3) Part One: We Came Here to Work
Lessons from Community Beginnings: Chicago’s Puerto Rican Community presents life in the early years of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago from 1940-1960.
Table of Contents
Part One: The Questions of Citizenship
Part Two: We Came Here to Work
Part Three: We Came Here to Live
Part Four: In Conclusion
Download Lessons from Community Beginnings: Chicago’s Puerto Rican Community (pdf)
(1 of 4) Teacher Background Material
(3 of 4) Part Two: We Came Here to Work