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ERIC Number: EJ843431
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-1535-0584
From Slovenian to American: Immigrants in Cleveland's Public and Parochial Schools
Gombach, Marlene
American Educational History Journal, v33 n1 p127-136 2006
In a Cleveland that was one of the most foreign of the country's cities, the Slovenian community struggled with the problem of maintaining its cultural ties while still adopting enough American customs to enable it to take advantage of the opportunities in a democratic, industrialized city. This article attempts to clarify some of the problems of second generation Slovenians to illustrate the experiences of immigrant children in the public and parochial schools of a major American city. Historians who looked at women immigrants focused on the larger ethnic groups, producing histories that documented the lives of Italian, Irish, Polish, and Jewish women who were among the millions who came to America during 1880-1920. But women in the smaller ethnic groups, such as the Slovenians were not studied as extensively, even though recording their experiences would be necessary in writing a complete history of immigration. This article attempts to address this gap, using the words of women who were the daughters of Slovenian immigrants living in Cleveland. Going to school during the 1930s, their identities were formed within a society that was struggling with the devastating economic effects of the Great Depression and the lingering resentments of some Americans to the large numbers of immigrants in their midst. With immigration restricted, there was a push to turn the immigrant into an American, even if it was at the expense of the immigrant's ethnic heritage. This article explores how young Slovenian women used their school experiences to help them to navigate between their private Slovenian identities and the public American identities they were expected to adopt. Unlike the first generation whose identities were formed by their years in Slovenia, these women of the second generation, most of whom were born in America, attempted to become Americans in their public lives while still living in homes where their parents' ethnic culture and values were honored. The schools, both parochial and public, that educated these women became the agents of change, giving them the opportunities to learn about American society in a way that was unavailable to them in their own homes and from their parents.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio; Yugoslavia