Greeks have been in America for many years. Their journey did not start easy, but things have changed a little since then. Unfortunately, some things also stayed the same. Here are a few interesting facts about the Greeks and America.
1. The first Greek Orthodox Church in the US. The church was built in the New Orleans in 1864. The church was led by Nicholas Benakis.
2.San Francisco’s mayor. The last Republican Mayor of San Francisco was George Christopher. He served a term of 8 years.
3.Patriotism. In 1912, when war broke out between Greece and Turkey, many Greeks went back home. Many Greeks had made America their home, but they decided to go back to Greece to defend their homeland.
4.Postage stamps for Greece. In 1943 the US Postal Service printed a series of postage stamps that were very special. These stamps honored the countries that were taken over by the Nazis. One of these countries that were honored was Greece.
5.Politics. In the past, there were a few instances where Greeks were made fun of or ridiculed because of their heritage. Mike Galifianakis was beaten out for senator by an opponent who played dirty and used his Greek heritage against him. Michael Dukakis also experienced problems when he ran for president. A country singer had said that she cannot vote for someone if she cannot pronounce his surname. He received a lot of support from Greeks, Italians, and others. It seems that Americans think that our Greek surnames and heritage is something to make fun of.
6.Greek. The US Census Bureau does huge census projects to survey different aspects of American life. This includes language. It has been found that a neighborhood in New York City called Astoria, had many Greek-speaking people. It is one of the most used languages in this neighborhood.
Greeks living in America has always been and will always be controversial. We just need to stick together and focus on the positive.