In the early decades of the twentieth century, the large number of immigrants coming to the United States transformed not only the makeup of the cities in which they settled, but also the labor force in which they participated. The Great Depression added to the struggles of cities and the working class. Immigrating from Poland to Chicago in 1929, Mollie West’s youth was shaped by the struggles of her community on the West Side.

Click on an image to see a story in this chapter.


Shieman family in Poland
From Poland to Chicago


Meet the young Mollie West as she settled into a new life in Chicago and began to learn about politics and social issues in the 1930s.







Mollie West John Marshall HS
 Activist in the Great Depression

As a student during the Great Depression, Mollie witnessed some of the struggles of the working class and began her participation in the labor movement.





Header image: Mollie West High School photos