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Chicago History at Home | Teens: My Trunk, My Story

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Chicago is a city of immigrants. In 1850, 50% of Chicago’s population was born outside of the US, with Irish and Germans making up a bulk of those residents. Many more European immigrants came to Chicago throughout the 1800s and into the 1900s, including Polish, Italians, Jewish, Lithuanians, among others. African Americans also migrated from the South to Chicago, and other northern and west coast cities, starting in the 1910s in well into the 1970s. This became known as the Great Migration. Although Mexican immigrants were making Chicago their home since the early 1900s, a large number of Mexican and other Latin American immigrants made their way to Chicago in the mid-1900s, and continue to arrive and thrive in the city. 

All of these immigrants and migrants had to make the tough decision to pack up their trunks, leave their homes, and set out for a new life. With them, they most likely brought personal, cultural, and other important items to remember and honor their previous homes, anchor their new lives with familiar items, and helped to tell their story.

What items do you have, that you would put in your trunk that would help tell your story? 

Find directions & start the activity here!

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories
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