The nature of Polish communities in the U.S. is examined by studying how they manage to keep their culture alive through music, foods, festivals, and traditions. A brief look at Polish immigration into the U.S. will introduce research of Polish community groups, today, within U.S. cities. In conclusion, traditions of the Polish culture and how they carry on such a rich heritage for the next generation after settling in the U.S. is discussed.
Polish Traditions in US Communities
Over 3 million immigrants came from Poland to North America during the nineteenth century. They represented several ethnic groups, religions, and world views and contributed greatly to every aspect of ...view middle of the document...
There are about 10 million Americans of Polish descent. (Caryn, 2009) Chicago bills itself as the largest Polish city outside of Poland, with approximately 185,000 Polish speakers. Chicago's Polish presence is demonstrated by the numerous Polish-American organizations: Polish Museum of America, the Polish American Association, the Polish National Alliance and the Polish Highlander's Alliance of North America. Chicago's Polish Community is concentrated along the city's Northwest and Southwest Sides along Milwaukee and Archer avenues, respectively. Chicago's Taste of Polonia festival is celebrated at the Copernicus Foundation in Jefferson Park every Labor Day weekend.
Nearly 3 million people of Polish descent live in the area between Chicago and Detroit. Further north along Lake Michigan's coast, Milwaukee's Polish population has always been overshadowed by the city's more prominent German inhabitants. Even though the city's once numerous Polish communities built a large number of magnificent Polish Cathedrals among them the magnificent and eye catching St. Josaphat Basilica and St. Stanislaus Catholic Church. Milwaukee is also home to Polish Fest, the largest Polish festival in the United States. Polish Americans from all over Wisconsin and nearby Chicago come to celebrate Polish Culture through music, polka dancing, food and entertainment. It is located in Milwaukee's 90-acre Maier Festival Park.
New York is a big city that offers many different Polish community groups. One is called the New York Polish Film Association. They have a Polish film festival every year. Now in its 12th year, the festival has been steadily growing in popularity and support. “We’re bringing a slice of Poland to Western New York,” says Randall Stone, director of the University of Rochester’s Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies, which sponsors the festival. “This is a great way to experience another culture without leaving home.”
Luzerne County, located in northeastern Pennsylvania is a polish mining community. This County brought immigrants who were drawn to this area because of the mining of coal in the region. It is the only county in the United States where pluralities of residents state their ancestry as Polish. This includes the cities of Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Hazelton, and Nanticoke. Polish influences are common today in the form of church bazaars, polka music, and polish foods.
“Little Poland” was a nickname given to part of a neighborhood in Greenpoint, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The name "Little Poland" came from Polish immigrants after 1900. Church and community organizations are flourishing because of new immigrants to an area where Polish food, drink and politics are all part of the busy streets.(Howe, 1984) A majority of the residents are Polish speaking and own family businesses such as meat markets, restaurants, grocery store, and magazine stands. There are restaurants where you can get homemade...