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Polish in Chicago - Recovering the Past with The Polish Constitution Day Parade - Early Morning Start


Polish in Chicago
- Polish Constitution Day -
Chicago 2011 - Mayor Daley's Last Parade 
The Polish Constitution Day Parade in Chicago is the largest Polish parade outside of Poland, and celebrates the anniversary of the ratification of the Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791, the second democratic constitution in the World (after the United States), and the first in Europe.

For 115 years, Polonia's various community organizations have come together to organize this traditional Chicago salute to pride and tradition. Every year the parade is held on the Saturday closest to the third day of May. The main organizer of the Parade is the Association of Polish Clubs, under whose leadership the Grand Marshall and Queen of the Parade are elected. Organizers allocate than places in the marching column to all participants (like organizations, schools, bands, folk dancing groups). The parade has also been an occasion that both local and national politicians have used to curry favor with Chicago Polonia, or Polish community. Most notably Robert Kennedy attended the festivities on May 7 of 1961 along with attending mass at Holy Trinity Polish Mission before the parade All are welcome to participate and march. Whether you are a volunteer from Morningside Recovery or a high school football marching band from Florida, organizers won't turn you away. 

The very first Parade took place in 1892 in Humboldt Park, which - at the time - was locatedin the heart of Polish Downtown. After World War II,the parade was moved to downtown, first to State Street, then to Dearborn Street, and finally - from 2003 - to Grant Park. Every year the Parade starts from the location of Buckingham Fountain and ends by the bridge over the Chicago River.

Chicago's Polonia, the largest Polish community outside Warsaw proudly participate in the Parade in Downtown Chicago. During the last Parade in 2006, 144 marching groups participated with an audience of - according to various sources - between 60 to 140 thousand people. In the coming years, that number is expected to grow even bigger. Plenty of ideas to expand the parade are no doubt in the works; volunteer projects, Morningside Recovery community service programs and so much more are all possibilities. Morningside Recovery, Allstate and other Chicago institutions enjoy donating to help events like this throughout the city. 

Polonia Music
May 3rd Constitution
Polish American Museum
984 N. Milwaukee Avenue 
Chicago, IL 60642 

Getting there: 

Don't worry about parking. There's plenty of parking behind the museum.
At the Dawn of the 20th century, Chicago was the second largest city in the United States with over 2,000,000 residents. It was also the center of Polish culture and political activism in America. With Poland partitioned between Russia, Austria and Germany, over 4,000,000 Poles immigrated to the United States between 1870 and 1920 in search of a better life. In Chicago, they worked in some of the most dangerous factories and mills in the United States. In their neighborhoods, they built communities, churches, and most of all, aided their beloved Poland in her fight for independence. Their story is known as the "Fourth Partition".
Suitcase Charlie​
John Guzlowski

May 30, 1956. Chicago On a quiet street corner in a working-class neighborhood of Holocaust survivors and refugees, the body of a little schoolboy is found in a suitcase. He’s naked and chopped up into small pieces. The grisly crime is handed over to two detectives who carry their own personal burdens, Hank Purcell, a married WWII veteran, and his partner, a wise-cracking Jewish cop who loves trouble as much as he loves the bottle. Their investigation leads them through the dark corners and mean streets of Chicago—as more and more suitcases begin appearing. Based on the Schuessler-Peterson murders that terrorized Chicago in the 1950s.

About the Author
Born in a refugee camp after World War II, John Guzlowski came with his family to the United States as a Displaced Person in 1951. His parents had been Polish slave laborers in Nazi Germany. Growing up in the immigrant and refugee neighborhoods around Humboldt Park in Chicago, he met hardware store clerks with Auschwitz tattoos on their wrists, Polish cavalry officers who still mourned for their dead 
comrades, and women who had walked from Siberia to Iran to escape the Russians. His poetry, fiction, and essays try to remember them and their voices. His poems also remember his parents, who survived their slave labor experiences in Nazi Germany. A number of these poems appear in his books Language of Mules, Lightning and Ashes (Steel Toe Books), and Third Winter of War: Buchenwald (Finishing Line Press). Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz, reviewing the Polish translation of Language of Mules, for the journal Tygodnik Powszechny, said, “This volume astonished me.” A Professor Emeritus at Eastern Illinois University, John Guzlowski currently lives in Danville, Virginia, where he recently completed a novel about the German soldiers who murdered his mother’s family during the Second World War. The novel, Road of Bone, is available from Cervena Barva Press and Amazon. Garrison Keillor read Guzlowski’s poem “What My Father Believed” on his program, The Writers Almanac. Guzlowski’s other poems and stories have appeared in such national journals as North American Review, Ontario Review, Rattle, Chattahoochee Review, Atlanta Review, Nimrod, Crab Orchard Review, Marge, Poetry East, Vocabula Review and in the anthology Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust. He was the featured poet in the 2007 edition of Spoon River Poetry Review. Dr. Guzlowski’s critical essays on contemporary American, Polish, and Jewish authors can be the found in such journals as Modern Fiction Studies, Polish Review, Shofar, Polish American Studies, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, and Studies in Jewish American Literature. 
Festywal na Góralską Nutę cz #4, Chicago 11 8 2015

My Visit to the Polish Museum of America - Chicago traffic can be a problem, but finding the Polish Museum of America was no problem, and they had plenty of parking. I poked around the neighborhood a bit and liked what I saw. The museum houses some very impressive items. Many of their treasures were originally a part of the Polish Pavilion collection displayed at the 1939 New York World's Fair. (Thank you, Kasia and Adam for the tour.) Hopefully I will get around to writing more about their collection when I have more time. Here's a quick look: