Changes in Ethnic Patterns
In the 1920's major changes began to occur in the ethnic makeup of the
Southeast Side. European immigration had slowed with the events of
War I and United States immigration policy changed radically in the
greatly reducing European immigration. Mexicans began to enter the
and settled in the area east of the Illinois Central railroad tracks in
South Chicago. As time went on African Americans began to come to the
in greater numbers and many of the white ethnic groups began to move to
the surrounding suburbs and to northwest Indiana.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe is located at 91st Street
Avenue in the South Chicago community. It is the oldest Mexican parish
in Chicago. This Roman Catholic parish started when Fr. William Kane S.
J. began ministering to the religious needs of Mexicans in South
in 1923. The area was inhabited by many Mexican Catholics that worked
the area's steel mills. South Chicago was a port of entry for incoming
Mexican immigrants. A small wooden church (above left) was erected in
at 9024 South Mackinaw Avenue. Father John Maiztegui, a Claretian
was named pastor in 1924 beginning a long history of that group of
serving the parish. In fall of 1926 land was purchased at the corner of
91st and Brandon for a new church. The three story brick
(above right) was dedicated in September 1928. At the time there were
8,000 Mexicans in the area. In 1929 Father James Tort established the
Shrine of St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes. In 1947 the
built a new elementary school at 91st and Burley Avenue. An
addition to the school was completed in 1960. In 1973 at the time of
Golden Jubilee the parish had 1,200 families and 330 children enrolled
in the school.
Mexican Social and Community Organizations
Mexican Patriotic Club
The Mexican Patriotic Club was initiated in the late 1930's from a
previously existing club called the Mexican Patriotic Committee. The
was founded through the efforts of the directors of Hull House. They
to have a committee in every community in Chicago and all together they
would be called Mexican Patriotic Committees. Priests at Our Lady of
sent representatives of the Mexican Patriotic Club through the church
also gave permission to use the church hall. The first Mexican
Club president was chosen. He was Father Montoya. The secretary of the
committee was Mr. Severino Lopez, and Father Saenz was the treasurer.
on the Mexican Patriotic Club had to be closed because both Father
and Father Saenz were transferred to other churches out of Chicago.
caused a lack of direction in the club. Fortunately in 1948 the club
back and new officers were chosen. The new organization was called The
Mexican Patriotic Club. A social center was finally obtained in
30, 1974 at 8521 Commercial. The Mexican Independence Day Parade is
by the Mexican Patriotic Club. The parade traditionally traveled from
Street and Houston and ended at the Mexican Patriotic Club.
Mexican Community Committee
The Mexican Community Committee was established in 1959 by Henry H.
Martinez with the help of other concerned residents. It began in
"Tiny" Chavez's basement where they all agreed they wanted to help
their community. The Mexican Community Committee is called the MCC for
short. The Mexican Community Committee has one purpose and that is to
delinquency and to provide social services to the Mexican American
Among some of the activities offered at the MCC are dances such as
Independence Day dances, homework assistance, individual family and
counseling, organized sports, physical fitness programs, cultural and
activities, literacy programs for adults, job development, health
and HIV/AIDS awareness. By 1965 the MCC. raised enough money to rent a
store front for its local headquarters. In the mid 1970's it purchased
a large building of four stories, the former Masonic Lodge located at 91st
and Exchange Avenue.
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