Boxcar People The Story of Galesburg’s Mexican Railroad Families
Witness a true story of the “American Dream”
fulfilled with the broadcast premiere of Boxcar People, Thursday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m.. on WTVP-HD
A new WTVP production written and produced by Will and Luz Schick, Boxcar People
tells the story of Mexican workers recruited in the early 1900s to work the railroads in Galesburg, Illinois.
At a time when their own country was torn by a bloody civil war, American industry came to Mexico looking for
workers to replace the men gone off to fight in WWI. To a culture centered on family, the railroads were
particularly attractive to Mexicans displaced by chaos and war. For the rail companies provided not just a
job, but a place to raise a family. Each worker was offered a home … a home in the form of a boxcar.
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 harsh discrimination to tell the tale of a proud people with strong traditions
and deep faith who came to love their adopted country and all the opportunities it offered.
Boxcar People is a truly inspiring story of immigrants rising up against all
odds. It sheds light upon a rarely heard history of Galesburg and its Mexican population in context of
national history. It also puts a local face on the national issues of the generations of “immigrants”
who have built this country and fought its wars, but still struggle with acceptance and civil rights.
Boxcar People was created by WTVP Executive Producer William Baker, and
features original music by Daniel Godsil, Associate in Applied Music at Knox College. The program will
premiere Thursday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m. on WTVP-HD 47.1. and encore Saturday, March 16 at 4:00 p.m.
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