Migration Stories

Migration Stories is a project that seeks to gather stories in various forms about both the experience of immigration for Africans and the impact of changing demographics in Midwestern communities. 

African immigration to the United States has grown rapidly over the past three decades with more than 1.5 million sub-Saharan Africans now residing in the United States. Close to 10,000 African immigrants (and their American-born children) live today in the metropolitan centers of Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka, Emporia, Wichita, and Garden City. These recent demographic changes have particular resonance in the Midwest where increasing numbers of non-traditional migrant groups, including Latinos, Asians, and Africans, now live in communities that are often unaccustomed to large groups of migrants of non-European origin. For although the U.S. celebrates itself as a nation of immigrants, recent immigration is perhaps not as clearly understood as that of earlier periods of our history. Long-term residents are, as such, left without a clear sense of who these new arrivals are and how to include them within the larger local community.

Focusing on the diversity, adversity, and struggles of Latin American and African immigrants in the Heartland, this initiative asks how the new digital age affects the stories that immigrants tell, as well as the possibilities for their visibility in the wider community. The project positions past and recent immigrant stories in trans-generational conversation with one another through multimedia and multi-modal vignettes, constructed via the storytelling methods unique and best suited to each generation.