If one had to choose a representative American ethnic group, high on the list would probably be Slovak Americans for a number of reasons, which we usually attribute to ethnic communities.
There are probably less than two percent of Americans of Slovak extraction and most of them settled here during the peak of the immigration period between 1880 and 1920. They came because of economic problems encountered at home but also because of political oppression and religious beliefs. They came to America practically pennyless, and had to struggle for their own survival by starting at the bottom of the economic scale, experiencing all forms of injustices and discrimination. They labored in coal mines and steel mills in railroad yards and farms. They achieved a degree of security by establishing their own neighborhoods, parishes, schools and newspapers. Today, they are very much part of the American society and can be proud of their contributions to the growth and development of this nation.
The series of essays which are part of this monograph were authored by three distinguished Slovak Americans.
Sister Martina Tybor SS.C.M. is one of the most prolific Slovak American writers. Translator, educator and scholar, she is deeply committed to the preservation of the Slovak heritage in America.
Dr. Mark Stolarik, a dynamic young scholar, is presently the Executive Director of the Balch Institute in Philadelphia. While in Cleveland as a C.S.U. professor and ethnic historian, he developed a great sensitivity for the Slovak community, which is clearly demonstrated by his objective and comprehensive analysis.
Miss Susie Megles, a Cleveland educator and ethnic researcher, complemented this work with details and thoughts which are so important for a study prepared for our educational institutions. To all of them, my heart felt thanks.
My sincere thank you also to the great Slovak American, Michael Novak, for the excellent introduction. He is always willing to support and contribute to scholarly ethnic research.
I owe a debt of gratitude also to Dr. Karl Stremen for organizing the basic research teams and for reviewing the manuscript.
Last but not least, my appreciation goes to the typists, Judy Slovenec, Shirley Lawson and Grace Sechnick for bringing this work to its successful completion.
Dr. Karl Bonutti
Editor, Monograph Series
Ethnic Heritage Studies
Cleveland State University