Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Guineans


Although preceded by a small number of academics and professionals, the majority of Guineans migrated to Chicago in the 1990s from New York. Political corruption and economic stagnation led many Guineans to flee the military regime in Guinea and seek opportunities in the United States. They migrated first to New York, Boston, and Atlanta in the late 1980s, where they established sizeable communities, and have since moved to other American cities, including Chicago. Friends and family have followed, as immigrants have entered a variety of occupations, particularly taxi driving and hairbraiding. Community members in 2002 estimated approximately 200 Guineans in Chicago.

The Guinean community gathers for Muslim holidays and informal social events throughout the year. In 1998, community members founded the Guinean Association of Illinois, which offers financial assistance to Guineans to meet the costs of illness or death. Members meet monthly to contribute funds and discuss social issues facing the community. The Guinean Association of Illinois is affiliated with Guinean associations in New York, Texas, Georgia, and other states, and the organizations contribute funds to one another in times of need.