Why are Latinos concentrated in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods? When did it happen?
Our latest story was inspired by this question, which was sent along by Curious Citizen CM! Winters-Palacio. This history about a fascinating corner of Chicago will surprise you, as will residents’ take on their neighborhoods’ changing ethnic composition. (Story with illustrations and latest podcast: http://wbez.is/WBRIkP )
According to Winters-Palacio, Chicago’s African-Americans cannot help but look at the city’s most heavily Latino neighborhoods with some envy. She lives in Auburn Gresham, a South Side neighborhood. “If you drive through Little Village or Pilsen, they’re thriving with little local stores,” she says. “When you go on the South Side, it’s a totally different experience.”
Winters-Palacio chairs Malcolm X College’s library department and tells us her interests include community development and racial segregation. So what does she think of our answer to her question? Pilsen’s Latino identity is “relatively new,” Winters-Palacio says. “It helps dispel one of the myths.” Namely, that a strong community must have long historical roots. Winters-Palacio says Pilsen and Little Village provide hope for her part of town.
Thanks again, CM!, for a great question!