The History of the Mexican Railroad Boxcar Communities in Chicago and The Midwest

The history of Mexicans who worked for local area railroads and lived in railroad boxcars will be brought to light in an upcoming program. Dr. Antonio Delgado will discuss the reasons behind and the processes used to recruit Mexican railroad workers to the United States during the turn of the century and well into the 1950s. As there were Mexican boxcar communities in Kirkland, Cortland, and Maple Park, his program will provide a better understanding of this little-known part of DeKalb County’s history. This discussion will take place on October 18, 6:00 p.m. at the DeKalb County History Center, 1730 N. Main St., Sycamore

“We are honored to have Dr. Delgado make the trip to DeKalb County to share his research about Mexican Boxcar communities. Our local connection to this story surfaced as volunteers searched census records and local histories. We are excited to learn more about a little known part of our local past,” explained Michelle Donahoe, DeKalb County History Center’s Executive Director.

Delgado was born in Monterrey, México. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Urban Planning/Public Policy Analysis, specializing in public policy as it impacts minorities in the United States. He also holds a Masters Degree in History from the University of Texas Austin and a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York. His interest in the history of Mexicans in the United States began when he interviewed his grandmother in 1975. Delgado is a former Executive Assistant in the Mayor’s Office, City of Chicago. He retired as Dean of Economic Development for the City Colleges of Chicago. At the age of five he entered the United States as an undocumented immigrant.

Deldago’s presentation is part of the fall Arts in Action programming, a partnership between the DeKalb County History Center and Ellwood House Museum. The Arts in Action program series is possible through a grant from the DeKalb County Community Mental Health Board. Upcoming Arts in Action programs include “Too Close to Home: Tim Egan’s ‘Fever in the Heartland’” with Dr. Amy Levin and Dr. Stan Arnold on November 9; and Illinois Humanities Road Scholar Ted Williams II will present “1619: The Journey of a People, the Musical” on November 16. For more information visit or call 815-895-5762.


Oct 18 2023


6:00 pm


DeKalb County History Center