Monday, May 14, 2012

"Mayor Addresses Greek-Americans" article - Chicago Daily Tribune, January 4, 1906


Published in the Chicago Daily Tribune, January 4, 1906

MAYOR ADDRESSES
GREEK-AMERICANS
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In a modest attempt to be sociable with the huge city which has heretofore seemed to ignore their life and traditions several hundred members of the Greek colony held an enthusiastic "American-Greek meeting" at Hull house last night under the auspices of Miss Jane Addams.

The city reciprocated to the extent of sending Mayor Dunne, Judge Edward O. Brown, and Prof. Paul Shorey of the University of Chicago to tell the sensitive Hellenes that Chicago appreciated the "glory of Hellas" even though Greek peddlers sometimes had a hard time of it.  The meeting was voted a success, and may be followed by similar social gatherings during the year.

The speakers' platform was profusely draped with American and Greek flags, while portraits of President Roosevelt and King George of Greece and a picture of the Parthenon looked down upon the audience.  Music was furnished by the "crack" orchestra of the Greek colony, whose members furnished a quiet lesson in patriotism by rising to their feet every time an American air was played.  
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"I am glad to have this opportunity," said Mayor Dunne, whose arrival with Mrs. Dunne brought the audience to its feet with welcoming cries of "Zitov, zitov, ze mayre," "to tell the Greeks of Chicago that we are proud to have you among us.  You bring traditions of democracy, literature, and art which we can not well surpass.  I hope you will keep your traditions fresh in your own hearts and minds.

"Some regard it as un-American for people to retain their own language and literature when they become American citizens," the mayor went on, "but I am always glad to see it.  The man with a soft spot in his heart for the fatherland makes a good adopted son, every time."

The presence of Mrs. Dunne seemed to please the members of the colony immensely, and when the two left, amid another volley of "zitov" (which means "live forever") the audience rose to its feet and remained standing until Mrs. Dunne had passed through the exit.

Prof. Shorey delighted the audience by sprinkling Greek quotations into his speech.  He praised the Greeks for the success which they had attained in their efforts to purify the Greek language as spoken today in Athens, a feat which the philologists of Europe had declared was impossible.

Judge Brown paid his tribute to the "pure democracy" which Athens had established, and declared that he found fresh ammunition against the critics of the jury system in the story of the dikasteries of Greece.
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"The Greeks are the least understood of all the people within the union," said C. N. Caralopoulos, responding in English in behalf of the colony.  "Most of them are from the laboring class.  The educated and refined Greek, who achieves business and social success in Europe, find it almost impossible here on account of the great combinations of capital, the high protective tariff, which prevents him from being an importer, and the prejudice of the Americans.  Still, we have nine Greek doctors in Chicago alone and many other professional men.

"The Greeks are never paupers.  Dunning has not the name of a single Greek on its books.  The belief that the Hellenes save money here to spend it at home is disproved by the statistics of immigration and emigration."
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Among the other speakers were Miss Addams, who presided; the Rev. Leon Pegeas of the Holy Trinity church; and the following who spoke in Greek:  A. I. Vlachos, Dr. N. Salopoulos, Greek consul, and Dr. G. Papailiou, president of the Greek community.



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