This article presents a selective portrayal of the Polish Americans of Hamtramck based on a collection of oral interviews conducted in the summers of 2014 and 2015. It argues that Hamtramck is best understood through the concept of “tangible belonging,” which historian John Swanson defines as an identity that is built in connection with a mental construct derived from the tactile environment in which an individual lives and experiences through the various senses of vision, sound, smell, touch, and so forth. Each generation and wave of immigrants understood differently their Polish and Polish American identity, which developed via a complex connection with Hamtramck's fabric of life over the years.

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