Cleveland Slovaks - Images of America

Cleveland Slovaks
Images of America by John T. Sabo

You don't have to be of Slovak descent to enjoy browsing the images in this book. If you are interested in Cleveland and its history you will enjoy this (and the companion Cleveland Czechs (Images of America) (Images of America (Arcadia Publishing))

As the book states, "Cleveland's Slovaks can best be characterized as survivors. Many survived ethnic persecution and poverty so they could have a chance at something better. Beginning with a small core of immigrants seeking work aboveground rather than in the coal mines of neighboring states, Cleveland's Slovak community grew through a giant chain migration. Their neighborhoods flourished close to their jobs and their churches.

Many of the ancestors of today's Slovaks came to the United States classified as Hungarians. In their hearts, though, they knew what they were and what language they spoke. They held on to their native language even as they learned English and unwaveringly encouraged their children to strive for the opportunity America offered.

According to the 2000 census, 93,500 northeast Ohioans claim Slovak heritage." The book has over 120 pages and most are packed with several black and white photographs. Some are of institutions that many will remember such as St Ladislas Church, St Wendelin and SS Cyril and Methodius and SS Peter and Paul Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Lakewood.

You will see photos of people from the First Catholic Slovak Union, the Slovak Radio Club and the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association.

Slovak costumes and dance groups are portrayed as well as some famous Cleveland Slovaks such as band leader Sammy Kaye and Paul Newman whose mother was born in what is now Pticie in eastern Slovakia.

If you are a long time Cleveland resident, and of Eastern European ethnic descent, you will undoubtedly recognize people in the photos. It's a lot of fun to page through this book and it's an important reference for future generations.

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