Book chronicles the lives of working Chicago Italians for 80 years through photography and text
For more than a century, Italian immigrants and their descendants contributed their labor and talent to building the city. Chicago Italians at Work focuses on a period from 1890 to 1970 when industry was king in this midwestern metropolis. Generations of Italians found work in companies such as U.S. Steel, Western Electric, Pullman, Crane, McCormick/Harvester, Hart Schaffner and Marx, and other large industrial corporations. Other Italians were self-employed as barbers, shoe workers, tailors, musicians, construction workers, and more. In many of these trades, Italians were predominant. A complex network of family enterprises also operated in the Chicago Italian community. Small shopkeepers generated work in food services and retail employment; some of these ma-and-pa operations grew into large, prosperous enterprises that survive today. Finally, Italians helped develop trade unions, which created long-term economic gains for all ethnic groups in Chicago. This book chronicles the labor and contributions of an urban ethnic community through historic photographs and text.
Author Peter Nicholas Pero is a teacher and writer. He has taught courses in labor studies for Roosevelt University and Prairie State College. Pero has published articles on workplace economics through travel in China, Japan, Costa Rica, and Brazil. He lives in Chicago's Little Italy and is a member of the city's Italian-American Labor Council.
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