Greek Americans

Greek American Heritage Month – March, more info

About: Greeks were among the last of the Europeans to immigrate to America during the Great Migration, and their numbers are small compared to neighboring nations of Southern Europe, like Italy, for example. Immigration and Naturalization Services data provide documentation that approximately 421,000 Greeks immigrated to the United States between 1890 and 1921.

Their pattern of settlement shows that the majority settled on the East Coast, primarily in Florida and New York, and the industrial Midwest, in Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburg. Greeks also formed enclaves on the West Coast as they worked in the construction, lumber, and mining industries. However, anti-immigration laws passed in the early twentieth century resulted of four decades of declining Greek immigration to the United States.

The first wave of mass Greek immigration coincides with the first phase of American Industrialization. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of Greeks arrived as a source of cheap labor, unlike previous Hellenic Diasporas in other parts of the world, starting in the 8th Century BCE. In addition to the harsh demands and poor working conditions of manual labor, Greeks faced discrimination. Racial prejudice marginalized and excluded Greeks from certain types of work, from use of public establishments, and harbored negative stereotypes of Greeks. In spite of such hostilities Greek workers were not deterred from participating in labor and political movements for social justice of all immigrants.


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