Boxcar People Photos

A new documentary film from WTVP-Public Media, central Illinois’ Public Television station

In the early 20th century, Galesburg’s railroad workers were mostly Mexicans who were recruited to the U.S. by contractors working for the railroad companies. The American rail companies provided more than just a job for these starving people, impoverished and displaced by a bloody civil war. They provided a place to live and raise a family: old boxcars.

Boxcar People, a new documentary from WTVP written and produced by Will and Luz Schick, tells the story of the estimated 80 children from as many as 15 families who grew up in these boxcar communities. Using historic film, original testimonials and photos from the actual inhabitants of the boxcar camps, Boxcar People goes beyond descriptions of horrible living conditions, dangerous and back-breaking work, and discrimination from their adopted community, to tell the tale of a proud people with strong traditions, deep faith and abiding loyalty who carved out a new home in a strange and beautiful land.

Boxcar People is a true story of the “American Dream.”

A DVD of the program is available thru

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