As we know from studying the American Revolutionary War, immigrant experiences are as varied as the people involved. While most of the immigrant stories in the 18th century were unrecorded, we can now share stories in ways that the earliest immigrants could never dream of. Immigrant Connect Chicago is an online network for immigrants, their families and communities. Through individual stories, Immigrant Connect Chicago is crossing ethnic, cultural and generational lines and providing a forum for shared immigrant experiences in Chicago. This ongoing project is coordinated through the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, with funding support from the Carnegie Corporation.
The site features a section to “Share Your Story” about your experiences as an immigrant, with suggested topics on learning the language, problems with “papers,” keeping the family together, fearing “the law,” connecting with back home, trying to get work, culture shocks, remembering the migration, and identity issues.
While it’s too late to hear personal narratives on these topics from 18th century immigrants who contributed to the American Revolutionary War – such as Alexander Hamilton (whose portrait is on the US $10 Bill), Jorge Farragut, Robert Morris, Oliver Pollock, Thomas Paine, and Friedrich Von Steuben – there’s still time for you in the 21st century. Please contribute your stories and memories.