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This is the story of Mexican workers recruited in the early 1900s to work the railroads in Galesburg, Illinois. Mexico was torn by a bloody civil war and many American men had gone off to fight in World War I. The railroad companies looked south, offering displaced Mexicans a job and a place to raise a family … a home in the form of a boxcar.


Using historic film and photos and original testimonials, the film tells the tale of a proud people with strong  traditions and deep faith who came to love their adopted country. Boxcar People is a truly inspiring story of immigrants rising up against all odds. It sheds light upon a rarely heard story of the Midwest’s Mexican population in context of American history, and puts a face on generations of immigrants who have built this country, but still struggle for acceptance and civil rights. 

This program is also available for viewing on the PBS Video App.  The PBS Video app is available on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) and many brands of smart televisions.

Written and produced by: 
Will and Luz Schick

Executive Producer:
William Baker

Original music by:
Daniel Godsil

Boxcars being converted
Chillicothe Santa-Fe Track Crew
Boxcar homes at Davis Camp
Man walking with a paper sack at Davis Camp
Section Gang

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