200 Years of Serbs in America

Vidovdan BANNER

Join us in Celebrating 200 Years of Serbs in America!
The celebration of 200 years of Serbs in America will be held on Vidovdan, June 28, 2014 in the city of Philadelphia, in front of the Independence Hall where both the declaration of American independence and the founding of the Constitution took place.

It has been two centuries since the first Serb, Djordje Sagic, also known as Judge George Fisher, arrived to America through the Port of Philadelphia. The first period of immigration dated from 1820 to 1880. The early immigrants who came in larger numbers to America, came mostly from the coast of Montenegro (The Bay of Kotor) and Dalmatia known for their long-time seafaring tradition. The second period of immigration dated from the 1880s to the second decade of the twentieth century.

Many immigrants were without any specific qualifications (many of them were illiterate, without knowledge of English), and they found jobs in mines and the steel industry. There were no labor organizations at that time, no health insurance, and no social security. They needed some kind of insurance to protect themselves and their families. The first Serbian benevolent society in Pennsylvania was established in McKeesport: The Serbian Orthodox Fraternal Society No. 1, and it joined already existing the Russian Orthodox Fraternal Society. In 1901, Sava Hajdin explored an idea of setting up an independent federation of Serbian fraternal societies. Sava Hajdin founded the Serbian Orthodox Federation Srbobran on June 2, 1901. On the convention in 1929 it was named by the Serb National Federation (united Srbobran, Sloboda, Sloga, and Svesna Srbadija). One of the most important contributions of the Serb National Federation to the promotion of Serbian interests in the North America is its official organ the American Srbobran, the oldest continuously published Serbian newspaper in the North American continent.

There are three most important elements of a foundation of the Serbian identity in the U.S.: the Orthodox Christian Faith, the Serbian heritage, and the American democratic tradition.

The Tesla Science foundation from Philadelphia invites all Serbian organizations, institutions, churches, and individuals to participate in the historical celebration of 200 years when the first Serb arrived to America. The primary goal of this greatest Serbian event in the U.S. is to celebrate the Serbian culture, arts, sciences, sports and business as well as contributions of all known and unknown men and women of Serbian heritage, organizations, institutions, and the Serbian Orthodox Churches. We will welcome all organizations, institutions, churches, media and individuals to submit their proposals, programs or projects at phillyvidovdan2014@gmail.com


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