SOKOL GREATER CLEVELAND and Sokols of Ceska Sin. The Sokols were responsive to the aspirations of Czechs for a free nation-state. Before the U.S. entered World War I, several members of Cleveland's Sokols participated in the Czechoslovak Legions that fought with the Allies in Europe, and a total of 360 Czech and Slovak volunteers from the Cleveland area eventually joined the Czechoslovak Legionnaires. In 1915 Czechs and Slovaks met in Cleveland to plan a strategy to liberate and unify Czech and Slovak regions in an independent republic. Czech-American publications and ethnic leaders lobbied to influence American public opinion, and Msgr. OLDRICH ZLAMAL, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, encouraged Cleveland Czechs to become politically active and to petition for the independence of Czechoslovakia. The democratic Czechoslovakian nation-state created at the conclusion of World War I was a source of personal gratification for Czechs in this country until its Nazi occupation in 1938 and its fall to Communism in 1948. Drama, musical, and dance groups have helped preserve the Czechs' ethnic heritage since the 1860s. In 1867 a musical organization, the LUMIR-HLAHOL-TYL SINGING SOCIETY, was established in Cleveland, followed by such groups as the VOJAN SINGING & DRAMATIC SOCIETY and the Vcelka Czech Dramatic Society. Music was an area of the arts in which many Czechs excelled, 10 of the 57 charter members of the CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA having been Czech. One of them, CHAS. V. RYCHLIK, was a successful composer and respected music teacher until his death in 1962. Families such as the Hrubys (see HRUBY FAMILY) and the Machans were active as performers and composers. Czech newspapers in Cleveland presented the views of 3 different segments of Czech society: freethinkers, socialists, and religious. Toward the latter part of the 19th century, Cleveland was one of the major cities in the nation with a large population of Czech progressives or freethinkers. Pokrok (Progress), established in 1871, was the first progressive Czech newspaper in the city. It was followed by a progressive weekly, DENNICE NOVOVEKU (Star of the New Era), and a daily, Svet (The World) under the same management. Cleveland was also a major center of Czech socialism. In 1909 the weekly AMERICKE DELNICKE LISTY (American Workman's News) began publication. Its editor, JOSEPH MARTINEK, was active in the struggle for old-age pensions in Ohio. Catholics preferred the American, a Czech newspaper founded by FRANK J. SVOBODA. In 1939 Svet bought out the American and became the SVET-AMERICAN. From then until the summer of 1950, when it ceased publication, the Svet-Americanwas the only Czech daily newspaper published in Cleveland. Following its demise a new Czech daily, NOVY SVET (New World), provided Cleveland with a Czech voice until 1977. The movement of Czechs toward the suburbs, which began shortly after World War I, has weakened the old neighborhoods and many of the institutions located in them, making it difficult to maintain ethnicity. The Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948 further alienated Czech-Americans from their Old World roots. In the 1980s, however, Czech-American culture in Cleveland was still evident in gymnastic meets and congresses, in folklore demonstrations and fetes, in religious festivals, in commemorations of events significant to Czechs in Bohemia and Moravia as well as in America, and in the instruction in Czech history, language, and culture available at education centers. The fall of the Communist regime in the "Velvet Revolution" of 1990 served to strengthen ties between Cleveland's Czechs and the old country, opening the way to increased tourism by individuals and such groups as Sokol Gtr. Cleveland and Lubomir Hromadka's Old Style Bohemian Brass Band. Nicholas J. Zentos Lorain County Community College Wendy Marley Cuyahoga Community College Ledbetter, Eleanor. The Czechs of Cleveland (1919). Works Projects Admin. The Peoples of Cleveland (1942)."/> Retrievo - Alternate title: The dictionary of Cleveland biography
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