The Exiled Greeks - Utah's Very Anti-Greek Past & The Ku Klux Klan

Published by Hellas Frappe on November 1, 2013

The Exiled Greeks - Utah's Very Anti-Greek Past & The Ku Klux Klan

Helen Papanikolas, one of the great chroniclers and ethno-historians of the Greek-American experience has written extensively about the difficulties encountered by early Greek immigrants to Utah where she grew up. In her essay, "The Exiled Greeks" ( a must read for its insights on the early Greek-American experience) she says the following:

Greeks without countrymen already employed in Utah worked their way across the country laying rails over the prairies, building roads, digging sewers, disposing of offal in slaughterhouses, and clearing land of sagebrush. They rode freights, munching bread and dried beans, trying to learn a few words of the new language from small, gilt-edged, Greek-English dictionaries bought in New York and Chicago. They climbed onto wrong freight cars, their food giving out, always alert for railroad detectives their countrymen had warned them against. They hid from town officials who would charge them a three-dollar head tax and jail them if they could not pay it. They were stunned by the hate of Americans. "The scum of Europe," "depraved, brutal foreigners" they were called in print, taunted and jeered when they asked for work. In coffeehouses along the way, they heard of attacks on Greeks: the burning of Omaha's Greek Town and the routing of a gang of Greeks clearing sagebrush south of Boise, Idaho, by masked men on horses, whips and guns in their hands

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