The Czechmate Diary…


A little bit of history…Czech Americans and Education (part VII) June 29, 2007

Filed under: Czech-American history — Tanja @ 5:58 am

Czechs always kept education in a high regard, which is obvious from the high literacy rate of the Czech immigrant groups (97% could read and write) compared to the other Slavic immigrants where the literacy rate was only 66%. Because they wanted their children to be taught about their Czech heritage, which was something that public school system could not provide, the Czech American communities would establish their own schools.

Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania The earliest educators that came from the Czech lands were the Moravian Brethren, a Protestant religious group which came to America to find religious freedom between the years 1741 and 1762. They implemented especially the teachings of Jan Amos Komensky in their schooling system and were educating everyone, not just the Czechs. Even in these early years the Moravian Brethren already supported women to get equal education to men as well as the abolition of slavery. They were also the founders of the 6th oldest college in America (founded in 1742), the Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (see the picture attached;in the forefront is the statue of Jan Amos Komensky). Besides God and education, Moravian Brethren also loved music. Supposedly the first symphonic orchestra in America – the Moravian Trombone Choir – was created by them. In 1999 the Moravian Brethren still had about 50,000 members in the USA. More on a current information on the Moravian Brethren can be found at

The first authentic Czech school was founded by the Catholics in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1854. By 1930 about 21,000 Czech Americans were attending various catholic schools founded by various Czech people. But because the Czechs in general assimilate very well with the Americans, most Czech schools ended up closing down. Since then the Czech language is being taught in 47 (!!!) American universities all over the country, such as the University of Nebraska (, University of Princeton(, University of California, Los Angeles ( and other universities. Many Czech organizations, such as the Bohemian Hall in New York offers free Czech courses a well.



One Response to “A little bit of history…Czech Americans and Education (part VII)”

  1. Milo Munchinsky Says:

    Thanks for this commentary, it is so true or at least I can attest to it personally. My parents who were immigrants put very high proiority on education as their parents did as well. As a result there are several PH.D.s in our family.

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