Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Source for Display Materials & Public Speakers for October - Polish American Heritage Month

Dear Library Director,

October is Polish American Heritage Month, and it is annually celebrated across the country by Polish Americans and others with events, festivities, and parades.  All of us in the Kosciuszko Foundation/New England Chapter, an international organization promoting Polish arts and culture, recognize the importance of libraries in fostering knowledge and awareness.  Given the role libraries play in our communities, I ask that you consider presenting a display highlighting the history and culture of Poles and Polish Americans.

Over 400 years ago, the first Poles arrived on American soil.  They were important members of the Jamestown colony, working as glass blowers, carpenters, masons, and artisans, helping to build a community that was central in our country’s founding. 

Since that time, Poland and America have strengthened their bonds through a mutual belief in freedom and liberty.  As America fought to break its ties to Great Britain, two valiant Poles crossed the Atlantic Ocean to offer their services to the American Revolution:  Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski.

Thaddeus Kosciuszko, the namesake of our foundation, not only served in the Continental Army but was a confidante of General George Washington.  He was a brilliant tactician and engineer who was instrumental in the Battle of Saratoga.  Kosciuszko also established the fortifications at West Point, which would eventually be known as the United States Military Academy.

Just as important, Casimir Pulaski had a steadfast devotion to freedom, shaped by his experiences in defense of an independent Poland.  A famous cavalry leader in Europe, Pulaski volunteered his services to the American Revolution.  Through his tireless commitment and courage, he would earn the designation “Father of the American Calvary.”  He died on October 15, 1779 from wounds received at the Battle of Savannah.  Pulaski’s remarkable achievements and high character have come to symbolize for Poles and Polish-Americans standards that we should all aspire to…and that is why October is Polish American Heritage Month.

During this year Polish poet Wisława Szymborska died on February 1, 2012 at the age of 89. She was an essayist, translator and recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was described as a "Mozart of Poetry". Other notable Poles and Polish-Americans: Stanislaw Baranczak, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Frederic Chopin, Casimir Funk, Janusz Glowacki, Henryk Gorecki, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Janusz Kaminski, Bronislau Kaper , Jan Kiepura, Czeslaw Milosz, Helena Modjeska, Ralph Modjeski, Pola Negri, Jan Nowak, Theodore Roszak, Jan Sawka, Florian Znaniecki and many sports figures: Stan Musial, Mike Ditka, Bob Toski, Carl Yastrzemski, and Mike Krzyzewski.

Today, Polish Americans comprise one of the largest ethnic groups in America.  We are proud of our history and legacy on both sides of the Atlantic, and ask that you help us in spreading the awareness of our centuries-old culture and contributions.  It is our belief that through appreciating the diversity that it is the hallmark of America we will find a common ground for respect, understanding, and good will.  I thank you for your time!

For more information or assistance in display material please contact: Carolyn Topor  413 532-1546  email: cct58@comcast.net

Very truly yours,
Carolyn Topor
Carolyn Topor, President
The Kosciuszko Foundation
New England Chapter

P.S.  I have included some websites that may be of interest to you http://www.chipublib.org/eventsprog/programs/cel_diversity/pahm.php(Chicago Public Library)
http://www.thekf.org/  (Kosciuszko Foundation)
http://www.washington.polemb.net/  (The Polish Embassy, Washington, D.C.)
The 3 Youtubes: animated History of Poland in 8 min.; Polish Fighters in Battle of Britain; Modjeska could perhaps be shown on a master computer continually or periodically

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