The Serbian Press
MILAN M. RADOVICH
The largest South Slavic nation populating present-day Yugoslavia, with about 9 million (43 percent) of its inhabitants, is represented in the United States ethnic mosaic by an estimated 300,000 American Serbs of the first and second generations. It is one of the smallest ethnic groups in the United States. 1
Linguistically, Serbs belong to the large Slavic family of nations that includes Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Croats, Slovenes, and Macedonians. The latter four belong to the inner circle of South Slavic nations. Serbs speak Serbian, or Serbo-Croatian, and in writing they use two alphabets: Cyrillic and Roman.
The great majority of Serbs belong to the Eastern Orthodox Christian rite. The official name for their church is the Serbian Orthodox Church. There are Serbs of Moslem as well as of many other religious confessions.
The first significant arrival in the United States of Serbian immigrants, mainly from rural areas of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, took place during the industrial revolution at the beginning of the twentieth century. The second largest wave followed World War II, when many thousands of displaced persons arrived. The most recent immigration from Yugoslavia has brought to these shores mostly well-trained people seeking improvement in their economic condition.
Beginning with George Fisher (Dorde Sagić), the first well-known Serbian immigrant, who landed on the shores of Louisiana in 1815, Serbs looked toward America not only as a country of great opportunity, but above all as a land of unsurpassed freedom and justice. The great Serbian poet, Prince-Bishop Peter Petrović-Njegoš ( 1813-1851), in spite of his love for "mother Russia," found America to be the only country to which he would go if he could have chosen his destiny. The Serbs who could choose did just that.
The history of Serbian journalism in America began with the establishment of the first Serbian communities at the end of the nineteenth century. Among these first arrivals, the need to communicate and to exchange ideas, opinions, and news was extremely important. Peasants from Lika, shepherds from Hercegovina, lumbermen from Bosnia, and fishermen from Dalmatia and Monte