Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America

9, Kyiv 09:59

Ukrainians in the U.S.

Ukrainians in the United States

By George A. Miziuk

While Ukrainian immigration to the United States did not start until the latter part of the 19th century, American historical records indicate that people with Ukrainian names were on the North American continent as early as the 17th century. Perhaps the first Ukrainian to arrive in the New World was Levrenty Bohun (also referred to as Ivan Bohdan), according to legend, a doctor who accompanied Captain John Smith to Jamestown, Virginia in 1608.

Records from the American War of Independence list names of Ukrainian volunteers who served in the Continental Army, but little is known about them. The same is true of early Ukrainian settlers on the West Coast. These include Ukrainian kozaks (exiled to Siberia and Alaska by the Russian Czars), who helped to settle a colony near San Francisco called Fort Russ (today known as Fort Ross).

Reverend Ahapius Honcharenko, a native of Kyiv, settled in San Francisco where he published the Alaskan Herald, a bi-weekly newspaper.

Doctor Nikolai Sudzilovsky (later changed to Rusel) practiced medicine in San Francisco in the 1880's, moving to Hawaii in 1895. There, he helped to organize the Hawaiian Medical Society. In 1901 he was elected to the Hawaiian Senate and later became its presiding officer.

Despite these pioneers, there was no association among the Ukrainians in the United States until the immigration of the 1870's.

First Major Immigration: 1870-1899

Large scale immigration from Ukraine to the United States can be divided into four periods, the first from 1870 to 1899, representing the beginning of mass immigration. During this period the United States immigration records noted only the country of origin, and not the nationality of the immigrants.

Consequently, since the territory of Ukraine was divided between the empires of Austria-Hungary and Russia at the time, Ukrainian immigrants were listed as Russians, Austrians, or Hungarians, according to citizenship. This hinders an accurate count of the actual number of Ukrainian immigrants. Estimates of Ukrainian immigrants during this time period vary from 240,000 to 500,000 persons.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire abolished slavery in 1848, while the Russian Empire abolished slavery in 1861. The vast majority of Ukrainians at this time were former slaves that remained one of the poorest classes of farm laborers within these two empires. The promise of jobs in the New World was a great enticement to immigrate to America.

Thus, most of the first wave immigrants were the economic working class seeking jobs. They settled in the anthracite coal mining towns of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and in the farmlands of Virginia, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, and Texas.

The early immigrants had to resist the influence of pro-Russian and pro-Hungarian organizations that desired to draw the Ukrainians into their own sphere of influence.

Ukrainian churches and social groups began to be organized in the U.S., with the goal of unifying and helping the community. The community leadership role of Ukrainian Catholic priests, such as Father Ivan Voliansky and Father Gregory Hrushka were crucial for the early immigrants.

The earliest Ukrainian American organization established in 1894, in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, was the Ukrainian National Association, which still exists today, headquartered in New Jersey.

Second Major Immigration: 1900-1914

The second period of Ukrainian immigration began after 1900 and ended with the outbreak of World War I. Immigration during this period increased annually by thousands until it reached its peak in 1914 with a total of 42,413 Ukrainian immigrants. During this second period, approximately 250,000 persons arrived in the United States from Ukraine.

Ukrainian immigrants during this second period settled mainly in the large industrial cities such as New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit, and Chicago. They sought employment in these cities with major industries, such as iron and steel, glass, rubber, shoe, furniture, automobile, rail car factories, flour mills, and sugar refining plants. This was a change from the previous immigration which mainly sought jobs in the agrarian area.

In 1907, Bishop Soter Ortynsky was assigned charge of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the U.S. His arrival as the first such Bishop was hailed as a breakthrough by the Ukrainian American community. Unfortunately, the Bishop's influence created antagonism between the Ukrainian Catholics and Ukrainian Orthodox believers.

The community was fractured in 1910, when the Ukrainian National Association Convention was met with a proposal by the Bishop's followers to change the format and character of the membership to reflect a Catholic society. Two new fraternals were created as a result of withdrawal by disenfranchised members, and later another by the Bishop and his followers. With the death of Bishop Ortynsky in 1916, the healing process began among the different camps within the community.

Third Major Immigration: 1920-1939

During the period between the World Wars, immigration as a whole was restricted by the ''Red Scare,'' isolationism, and largely by the quota system. An estimated figure of between 20,000 to 40,000 Ukrainians arrived in the U.S. during the interwar time. Some historians claim that by 1930, there were some 568,000 Ukrainians in the U.S.A. The matrix of Ukrainian American organizations grew stronger as a result.

The class and character of Ukrainian immigrants shifted from economic to political as well.

The old Empires of east-central Europe collapsed in World War I. During the Russian Revolution, Ukraine declared independence on January 22, 1918. The rise of Communism within Russia - Soviet Union eventually led to the defeat of Ukrainian Armies and independence was lost in 1922.

Many Ukrainian families sought refuge abroad. Due to immigration restrictions by the U.S., many Ukrainians chose to immigrate to Western Europe, Canada, South America, and Australia.

In this time period, the Artificial Terror-Famine in Ukraine of 1932-33 took place, which was the work of dictator Josef Stalin and his Soviet henchmen, especially his NKVD (secret police) General Lazar Kaganovich. From 7 to 10 million native Ukrainians were deliberately exterminated during this genocidal act. Ukrainians in the U.S. sent aid to their countrymen, but it was refused by the Soviet Government. Another wave of executions in Ukraine and other parts of the Soviet Union was carried out in 1937-38 by Stalin.

Fourth Major Immigration: Post World War II

In World War II, native Ukrainians found themselves caught between two evil Empires: Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Ukraine briefly declared independence on June 30, 1941 in the City of L’viv, but the Ukrainian leaders were arrested shortly afterward by invading Nazis. Later, the Ukrainians formed an independent militia (The Ukrainian Insurgent Army) which fought a two-front war.

A unique aspect of World War II was that many thousands of the previous Ukrainian immigrants eventually volunteered for service in the Armed Forces of the Allied country to which they immigrated, or in many cases, were already born a first or second generation citizen.

At the end of World War II, there were about 4 million Ukrainian displaced persons in Europe. Some were ex-prisoners of War from the Soviet Army, some were actual survivors of Nazi Concentration Camps, but the vast majority was those forcibly taken from their homeland to Austria and Germany as laborers during the War, the victims of Hitler's theory of all Slavs being ''sub-humans.''

When the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 was enacted, some 85,000 Ukrainians found their way to America, peaking in the years 1949 and 1950. Many others immigrated to Western Europe, South America and Australia. The existing Ukrainian American organizations helped to integrate the new immigrants into American society by teaching them English and finding jobs for them.

Ukrainian Americans Today

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there were about 893,000 Americans of Ukrainian descent. However, there were some problems with the methodology of the census, and individuals who used historical or geographic terms to identify themselves were counted with other groups. Many individuals identified their country of origin (such as Russia, Poland, or Austria) rather than their ethnic background. As a result, some demographers estimate that there are actually between 1.5 and 2.0 million Americans of Ukrainian background.

According to the research Center for Demographic and Socio-economic Research of Ukrainians in the United States, which operates under the Scientific Society of Taras Shevchenko in New York (http://www.inform-decisions.com/stat/), now in America are living 930 434 persons of Ukrainian origin (0.3% of the total population).

In the hundred years since the first major wave of Ukrainian immigration to the United States, Ukrainians have established a vibrant and dynamic community. As in most ethnic communities, the Church is the center of focus for most Ukrainians. The majority of Ukrainian Americans belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. A number of Ukrainians also belong to the Byzantine Greek Catholic Church.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A., headquartered in South Bound Brook, N.J. Ukrainian Baptists belong to the All-Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Fellowship, based in Chicago.

Two Ukrainian American central organizations exist to synchronize activities of the community at large: the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council.

Milestones in Ukrainian American History

In 1910, representatives of the Ukrainian American community met with President William Howard Taft to discuss their concerns about U.S. Census policy towards Ukrainians that year. Since then, community leaders have met with virtually every U.S. President, both Republican and Democratic.

At the Chicago World's Fair in 1933, the Ukrainian Pavilion received wide acclaim for its design and content. It was the only Fair building in the nationalities group that was not sponsored by a national government. Soon afterwards, the community established a Ukrainian section in the Cultural Gardens in Cleveland, which included the work of sculptor Alexander Archipenko, who had exhibited in the Ukrainian Pavilion.

On June 27, 1964, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower unveiled a statue of Ukraine's poet Taras Shevchenko in Washington, D.C. The event was witnessed by a crowd of over 100,000 Ukrainian Americans.

In 1968, a Ukrainian Studies Center was created at Harvard University in Boston. This milestone at such a prestigious institution included three separate Departments: History, Language, and Literature. Ukrainian Study Centers and Departments of Eastern European Studies have since been established at other colleges and universities.

Ukrainian Contributions to American Life

Ukraine's history is rich with stories of military warriors, from ancient Scythian horsemen, knights of medieval Kyivan Rus', to the Zaporizhan Ukrainian kozaks who fought against invading forces of the Ottoman Empire. Many Ukrainian Americans also chose the military as their career. Some of the more illustrious are: Gen. Steve Melnik, who led Strategic Air Command in the 1960's; Gen. Samuel Jaskilka, former Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps in the 1970's; and Army Major Gen. Nicholas Krawciw, who led the 3rd Infantry (tank) Division in West Germany in the 1980's. The service of Ukrainian Americans in the U.S. Armed Forces is represented by the Ukrainian American Military Association, and the Ukrainian American Veterans order.

With American emphasis on sports, many young Ukrainian Americans have excelled in hockey, football, baseball, and soccer. For their play in American Football, three Ukrainians have been enshrined in the NFL's Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio: Bronko (Bronislaw) Nagurski, Church Bednarik, and Mike Ditka.

In the later 1950's, the Boston Bruins hockey club had a famed ''Ukie'' line consisting of Vic Stasiuk, Bronco Horvath, and Johnny Bucyk. Bill Mosienko of the Chicago Blackhawks still holds the record for a ''hat trick'' in 21 seconds. In 1995, the New Jersey Devils captured the Stanley Cup Championship for the first time with the help of Ukrainian teammates Ken Daneyko and Petro (Peter) Sidorkevich.

In the world of stage and screen, one finds numerous Ukrainian Americans, among them being John Hodiak (Lifeboat, The Harvey Girls, A Bell for Adano), Nick Adams (Rebel Without a Cause, No Time for Sergeants, The Rebel), Mike Mazurki (It's a Mad Mad Mad World, Nightmare Alley, Donovan's Reef), George Dzundza (The Deer Hunter, No Way Out, The Butcher's Wife, Law and Order). Also famous is Oscar winning Jack Palance (Requiem for a Heavyweight, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Shane, Che, City Slickers), as well as his daughter Holly Palance (Ripley's Believe It or Not!). Alex Trebek, the host of Jeopardy and Concentration, is also of Ukrainian heritage.

In the music world, Melanie achieved success with popular adult music, while Joy Brittan graced the stages of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Paul Plishka and Andrij Dobriansky both performed with the New York Metropolitan Opera. Classic pianist Volodymyr Vynnytsky also plays the concert halls in New York City.

Ukrainian women have participated in American beauty contests. The best known are Melisa Metrinko (former Miss USA), Analise Ilchenko (former Miss USA-World), and Kaye Lani Rae Rafko (Miss America 1988). 

Ukrainian organizations in the USA

Ukrainian Congress Committee of America

http://www.ucca.org

Mailing address: 203 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10003

Tel: (212) 228-6840

Fax: (212) 254-4721

Tamara Gallo Olexy, President

 

Ukrainian American Coordinating Council

Mailing address: 142 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10003

Tel: (212) 505-1765

Fax: (212) 475-6181

Ihor Gawdiak, President

 

Ukrainian National Women’s League of America

www.unwla.org

Mailing address: 203 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10003

Tel.: (212) 533-4646

Fax: (212) 533-5237

Marianna Zajac, President

 

U.S.-Ukraine Foundation

www.usukraine.org

Mailing address: 1701 K Street NW, Suite 903

Washington, DC 20006

Tel: (202) 223-2228

Fax: (202) 223-1224

Nadia K. McConnell, President

 

Ukrainian Federation of America

www.ukrainianfederationofamerica.org

Yorktowne Professional Building, Suit C

8118 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA, 19027

Теl: (215) 782-1075

Fax: (215) 782-1076

Zenia  Chernyk, President

 

United Ukrainian American Relief Committee

www.uuarc.org

1206 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111

Phone: (215) 728-1630

Fax: (215) 728-1631

Larysa Kyj, President

 

The Washington Group

www.thewashingtongroup.org

Mailing address: P.O. Box 11248

Washington, D.C. 20008

Tel: (301) 8732035

Andrew Bihun, President

 

Ukrainian Engineers' Society of America

www.uesa.org

Mailing address: 2 East 79 Street

New York, NY 10021

Tel./fax: (630) 839 – 6014

Askold Boretsky, President

 

Ukrainian Medical Association of North America

http://www.umana.org

Mailing address: 2247 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago Illinois, 60622

Tel: 1.888.Rx.UMANA

Fax: (773) 792-8966

Andriy Melnyk, President

 

Ukrainian American Bar Association

www.uaba.org

Mailing address: 216 Sorrel Dr., Wilmington, DE 19802

Tel: (302) 897-7182

George Pazuniak, President

 

Ukrainian-American Youth Association

www.cym.org/us

Mailing address: 136 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10003

Tel: (212) 477-3084

Fax: (212) 505-2577

Andriy Bihun, President

 

Plast, Ukrainian Scouting Organization

www.plastusa.org

Mailing address: 144 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10003-8305

Tel: (212) 475-6960

Fax: (212) 533-8991

Petro Stavnychyi, President

 

Ukrainian National Association

www.unamember.com

Mailing address: 2200 Route 10 West,

P.O.Box 280 Parsippany, NJ 07054

Tel: (973) 292-9800

Fax: (973) 292-0900

Stefan Kaczaraj, President

 

Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation

http://www.ukrainiangenocide.org/

Mailing address: 2249 West Superior St.

Chicago, IL 60612

Tel: (847) 699-9484

Fax: (847) 813-7813

Nicholas Mischenko, President

 

Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA

www.uocofusa.org

Mailing address: P.O.Box 495, South Bound Brook, NJ 08880

Tel: (732) 356-0090

Fax: (732) 356-5556

Metropolitan Antony

 

Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia

www.ukrarcheparchy.us

Mailing address: 827 North Franklin Street

Philadelphia, PA 19123

Tel: (1-215) 627-0143

Fax: (1-215) 627-0377

Metropolitan Archbishop Stefan Soroka

 

Ukrainian Association of North Carolina

http://www.uhc-of-nc.org

Mailing address: 935 White Cross Rd.

Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Tel: (919) 993-6428

Oleh Wolowyna, President

 

New Ukrainian Wave

www.orangevawe.us

Mailing address: 14 Peveril Rd.

Stamford, CT 06902

Tel.: (347) 420-7678

Myroslava Rozdolska, President

 

Four Freedoms for Ukraine

www.fourfreedoms.net

Mailing address: P.O.Box 304, Cooper Station, New York NY 10276

Tel.: (212) 982-1170,

Fax: (212) 473-0188

Michael Koziupa, President

 

Ukrainian American Veterans

http://www.uavets.org/

Mailing address: P.O. Box 791 Osprey, Fl 34229-0791

Tel: 941 966 2845

Fax: 941 925 2946

Ihor W.Hron, National Commander

 

Orange Wave

Mailing address: 2246 West Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, 60622

Tel: (312) 880-9283

http://www.orange-wave.com

Yuriy  Soroka, President

 

Razom

Mailing Address: 140 2nd Avenue, Suite 304, New York, NY 10003

http://razomforukraine.org/

Lyuba Shipovich, President

 

Nova Ukraine

Mailing address: 867 Lewis Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Tel: (408) 203 4323 

Fax: (484) 204 4323  

Mykola Bilogorskiy, President

Educational and cultural centers

Educational Council UCCA

Mailing address: P.O. Box 391, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10276-0391

Теl: (212) 477-1200

Fax: (212) 777-7201

Eugene W. Fedorenko, President


Power of Spirit Society Corporation

P.M. Box 344

8001 Castor Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19152

Теl./fax: (215) 745-4135

Roman Loun, President


Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center

Mailing address: 700 Cedar Road

Jenkintown, PA 19046

Tel: (1-215) 663-1166

Fax: (1-215) 663-8572

Borys Pawluk, President


Ukrainian Cultural Center

Mailing address: 26601 Ryan Road

Warren, Michigan 48091

Tel.: (586) 757-8130

Fax: (586) 757-1022

Bohdan Fedorak, Director


Ukrainian Museum in New York City

Mailing address: 222 East 6th Street

New York, NY 10003

Tel: (212) 228-0110

Fax: (212) 228-1947

Maria Shust, Director


Ukrainian Museum-Archives

Mailing address: 1202 Kenilworth Ave.

Cleveland, OH 44113

Tel: (216) 781-4329

Andrew Fedynsky, Director


Ukrainian National Museum

Mailing address: 2249 West Superior Street

Chicago, IL 60612

Tel: (312) 421-8020

Fax: (773) 772-2883

Jaroslaw J. Hankewych, Director


Ukrainian Museum and Library

Mailing address: 161 Glenbrook Road

Stamford, CT 06902

Tel: (203) 323-8866, (203) 324-0488)

Fax: (203) 357-7681

Paul Chomnycky, Director


Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art

Mailing address: 2320 West Chicago Avenue

Chicago, IL 60622

Tel.: (773) 227-5522

Orysia Cardoso, Director

Media of Ukrainian Community in the United States

America - Ukrainian Catholic Weekly

817 North Franklin Street

Philadelphia PA 19123

Ihor Rebensky, Editor (English)

Tel: 215-627-4519

Fax: 215-238-1933


Brama Press and UkraiNEWStand

PO Box 20606

Tompkins Square Station

New York NY 10009

Tel: 212-529-7575

Fax: 509-756-6230

Email: news@brama.com 

URL: http://www.brama.com/news/


Chas i Podiyi

Ukrainian Language News in Chicago

4350 Oakton St., Suite 201

Skokie IL 60076

Tel: 847-675-8486


Chychula - Radio/TV

2224 W. Chicago

Chicago IL 60622

Maria Chychula

Tel: 773 278-1836

Fax: 773 278-1836


KONTAKT c/o Ukrainian Telemedia Services

2324 W. Iowa

Chicago IL 60622

Tel: 773-862-1150


Lemko Voice

149 Park Avenue

Yonkers NY 10703-2907


Meest Media Corp.

Advertising/Shipping Services

609 Commerce Road

Linden NJ 07036

Nazar Stryhun, Advertising/Promo

Tel: (908) 474-1100

Fax: (908) 474-9280

Email: meestpaper@aol.com


META - Ukrainian Monthly

PO Box 52739

Philadelphia PA 19115-7739

Pavlo Lymarenko, Editor


Narodna Volya / Ukrainian Herald

371 North 9th Ave.

Scranton PA 18504

Roman Luzetski, Editor

Tel: 570-342-0937

Fax: 570-347-5649


National Tribune - Natsional'na Trybuna - Shlach Peremohy (Weekly)

PO Box 1009, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10276 USA

136 Second Avenue

New York NY 10003

Tel: 212-505-0767

Fax: 212-473-0188

Email: ntrybuna@nyct.net


Nova Hazeta

125 Corporate Blvd.

Yonkers NY 10701

Valentyn Labunsky, Editor-in-Chief

Tel: 914-220-4900

Fax: 914-220-4090

Email: memberservice@sumafcu.org


Our Life (Nashe Zhyttia)

publ. by UNWLA

108 Second Avenue

New York NY 10003

Fax: 212-228-1974


Our Voice - "Nash Holos"

PO Box 717

Townley Station

Union NJ 07083

Olha Kuzmovycz, Editor-in-Chief

Vasyl Lopukh, Editor

Tel: 908-688-6133

Email: OurVoice@brama.com


Peace to You (Mir Vam) Christian magazine

4715 21st Ave SW

Seattle WA 98106

Vasil Shur, Executive Editor

Tel: (206) 932-3306

Fax: (206) 932-3306

Email: Mr_shur@msn.com


Sower

161 Glenbrok Rd.

Stamford CT 06902-3092

Leon A. Mosko, Editor in Chief

Tel: 203-325-2116


Svoboda Ukrainian Weekly

2200 Route 10, PO Box 280

Parsippany NJ 07054

Irene Jarosewich, Editor-in-Chief

Tel: 973-292-9800

Fax: 973-644-9510

Email: svoboda@att.net 

URL: http://www.svoboda-news.com


The Ukrainian Weekly

PO Box 280

2200 Route 10

Parsippany NJ 07054

Roma Hadzewycz, Editor-in-Chief

Tel: 973-292-9800

Fax: 973-644-9510

URL: http://www.ukrweekly.com


The Way

827 North Franklin Street

Philadelphia PA 19123

Lyudmila Vnukova, Subscription Manager

Tel: (215) 922-5231

Fax: (215) 627-0377

Email: shlakh@catholic.org


Ukrainian News

19411 West Warren Avenue

Detroit MI 48228-3389

USA


Ukrainian Orthodox Word

PO Box 495

South Bound Brook NJ 08880


Ukrainian Radio Hour

Philadelphia PA

Tel: 215-765-2727

Fax: 215-765-2727


Ukrainske Zyttia

2348 Cortez Street

Chicago IL 60622


Ukrainski Visti

20046 West Warren Avenue

Detroit MI 48228


Zakordonna Hazeta

PO Box 7321

North Arlington NJ 07031

Petro Rybchuk, Editor-in-Chief

Tel: 201-246-0109

Email: hazeta@hotmail.com