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). (more…)


A little bit of history….Czech-American Institutions from Past to Present: Religion (Part V) June 21, 2007

Filed under: Czech-American history — Tanja @ 5:07 am

last_supperda_vinci.jpg Czech Americans and their relationship towards Religion

The earliest Czech immigrants (the Moravian Brethren) came to America solely to search for religious freedom. The later immigration wave of Czechs (after 1850) was coming for many different reasons such as education, political convictions and others . Yet still the majority of Czech Americans belonged to the Catholic Church – the only recognized religion by the Hapsburg Empire. This Hapsburg re-Catholization of the Czech lands left many Czechs scared, especially since the Czech lands used to be predominantly protestant. No wonder that when these “forced Catholics” came to the free America, about a half of them decided to turn their backs on Catholicism all together. The other half that stayed Catholic and didn’t have a Czech congregation in their vicinity usually joined some German or Polish Catholic congregations. By 1920 America had about 350 Czech priests and about 200, 000 Czech Catholics.

Czech Protestants in America consisted mostly of descendants of the Hussites and Moravian Brethren. Their most famous congregation has been the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in New York City (founded in 1888).

And then there were the blossoming Progressives and the Freethinkers who refused any kind of religion. These two groups received support and sympathy from the socialists and the atheists and together they established in America many atheist schools, ceremonies for marriages, funerals and other important events. (more…)


Little bit of history…Czechs in America (Part IV) June 13, 2007

Filed under: Czech-American history — Tanja @ 1:14 am

Czechs in America In 1920s 2/3 of Czech Americans lived in the big cities. The first three decades of the 20th century are also known as the Golden Age of the Czech American culture where an average American recognized and respected the Czech-American economy, culture, as well as the public and civic achievements. This time is also characterized by diminishing number of Czech-speaking Americans, the Czech quarters were disappearing as they were moving into the suburbs. This assimilation led to reduced number of Americans claiming Czech descent to only 200,000 in 1930!    The next wave of immigration was brought by the fear of Nazism, WWII and Communism. But the influx of Czech immigrants was still far smaller than what happened in 1850’s-1920’s period (the Big Immigration Wave). What is also interesting is that the earlier immigrants of the big wave were mostly blue-collar workers and peasants, where as those who arrived after 1933 were well educated and most of them already knew some English. These Czechs also assimilated much faster than the earlier immigrants. To prevent this constant assimilation, the Society for Arts and Sciences (SVU; Spolecnost pro vedu a umeni) was created in 1958 to connect these members of Czech intelligence in the US.    (more…)


New encyclopedia on important Czech Americans / Nova Encyklopedie vyznamnych Cechoamericanu June 11, 2007

Finally! Our time has come! / Nas cas nadesel!

SVU (Society of Arts and Sciences; Spolecnost pro Vedy a Umeni) is planning to create an encyclopedia of famous personalities with a Czech descent. To qualify you:

  • must have done something important in your life
  • had to be born either in Czech or in America but have a Czech descent
  • had to be born after the colonization of America

If you think you qualify send your resume/biography to:

Good Luck! / Hodne stesti!


Thanks to Czech Americans Czechoslovakia was born (part III) May 29, 2007

Filed under: Czech-American history — Tanja @ 5:45 am

Map of Czechoslovakia in 1928 Role of Czech Americans in formation of Czechoslovakia Socha TGM od Vincenca Makovského ve Washingtonu

Up until the beginning of WWI the Czech-American community did not seem united; it was divided into different groups such as the Progressives (the opposers of the traditional conservative response to social and economic issues), Catholics, Protestants, Socialists and other groups. But one thing they did have in common: none of them had in their plan to form a free state for both Czechs and Slovaks, which is what the future brought.

Once the times got heated and the US declared the war (WWI) on Germany, Czechs and Slovaks quickly joined together to support the formation of Czechoslovakia. As a result, the Czechoslovak National Council (CNC) was established to fight for the Czech/Slovak independence in America. The CNC actions were pivotal in setting up the neccessary negotiations between T.G. Masaryk (you can find more on T.G. Masaryk at, and the American president W. Wilson. T.G.Masaryk was at that time recognized by Allies as the head of the provisional Czech government. It was these CNC-led negotiations that eventually led in agreement on the formation of Czechoslovakia!

PS: By the way, did you know that if someone says “let’s meet by the statue” it automatically means among the local Czechs in Washington to meet by the statue of T.G. Masaryk? (

For details go to



A Little bit of history…Czechs in America (Part II) May 23, 2007

Filed under: Czech-American history — Tanja @ 12:34 am

The Second Wave of Immigration (1870s-1890s)

The Second Wave of Immigration is connected with the declaration of the Homestead Act in 1862, which enabled immigrants to obtain 160 acres of wild land and they would become its owners after 5 years of its cultivation. This Homestead Act brought Czech immigrants especially to Nebraska and Kansas.
Many Czechs were convinced to immigrate here (to Nebraska and Kansas) by American railway agents who looked for people to settle along the new railways. To begin farming in Kansas or Nebraska the farmers needed as much as $1,000, which was incredible amount of money at that time. That is why most farmers could not pay off their debt earlier than in 20 years. Families with a lot of children had a big advantage since they had their own free labor and that way could actually save some money from their harvest.



A Little bit of history…Czechs in America (Part I) May 3, 2007

Filed under: Czech-American history — Tanja @ 1:53 am

      I found the greatest paper  on the history of Czechs in America!! The article is 82 pages long so I will try to summarize it here a little and pull out the most interesting points:

The most important waves of imigration happened  first after the Battle of White Mountain (1620),  after the revolutionary year 1848,  with the outbreak of WWII1948 (when communists seized power) and in 1968 (Soviet occupation). In  1990 the  national census showed 1,300,000 Czechs living in the US!!! (52% in MW, 22% in the South, 16% in the West and 10% in NW) So I guess there is a lot of us!!!