Economic Development

Each day, KHC  features the hot topics and great speakers in the Speakers Bureau catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Mexican American Workers Help Build the Kansas Economy” by Gene T. Chávez.

Railroad section crew, c. 1930.
Image courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society.

Escaping their country’s economic, social, and political turmoil, Mexican immigrants began arriving in northeast Kansas in the mid-1910s. Their arrival coincided with a need for labor in American industries. In the Argentine, Armourdale, and West Bottoms communities of Kansas City, Kansas, this meant work on the railroad or in meat packing plants.

In “Mexican American Workers Help Build the Kansas Economy,” Gene T. Chávez discusses labor conditions and opportunities experienced by early 20th century Mexican American immigrants to Kansas, as told through oral histories from their descendants.

Gene T. Chávez

“People often say that there were Mexican kids at their school, but they really didn’t associate with them or know anything about their families,” said Chávez, a bilingual education and cultural diversity consultant. “This talk will shed light on the Mexican American families who settled in Kansas City, Kansas, and contributed to its development.”

Bring Gene T. Chávez’s “Mexican American Workers Help Build the Economy” or one of the other presentations in the Speakers Bureau catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, KHC program officer, for more information.