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Warriors Don't Cry

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The Romanian Immigrants

The American society constantly experiences changes due mainly to the shifting of cultural influences. The multicultural America persists throughout the history because of immigrants from all parts of the world. These immigrants create a fascinating but diverse society with different customs and cultures. The Rumanian immigrants represent a unique and important role to the culture and society of the United States. Most importantly the Romanian immigrants in one way or the other affect America from a social, economic, political, religious, or cultural aspect.

The Romanian immigrants have their presence in America for almost two hundred and fifty years. The first Romanian, called Samuel Damian arrived in the 18th century and was a priest from Transylvania. There are three groups of people that came to America after World War Two. The first group, (the forty-eighters) represented the victims of the war and they arrived from the refugee camps in Europe in the 1940s and 1950s. The second group, called "the newly arrived" escaped from communist Romania. The third group called the "post-communist" was better educated people that looked for prosperity. The "post-communist" group often spoke Romanian and French. After 1989 a great number of Romanians spoke some English as well.

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The majority of immigrants came from Transylvania, Banat, and Bucovina, territories under Austro-Hungarian rule. Political, ethnic and religious persecution, combined with horrible social and economic conditions, forced Romanians to leave their homes. They all had one goal in their search of opportunities in America, and that was freedom. The Romanians were unskilled laborers who left because of economic depression. Their intention was to come to America, gain money, and then go back home and buy land. Most Romanians worked in the iron and steel industry. Also, there were some in the coal mining, automobile manufacturing, and in the meat packing industries. It was extremely hard for many to learn these new tasks since they were mostly peasants. Their jobs took them to New York, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.

The Romanian immigrants encountered may difficulties in their journey to United Stated. According to the personal account of Emanuel Covaci, a Romanian immigrant in 1984, "almost sixty five percent of Romanian Immigrants were illegal." Their journey was extremely hard since they had to swim the Danube River and not get caught. Nevertheless, many were killed or turned back to a communist, poor country. The legal immigrants stayed for weeks in immigrant camps in Austria and Yugoslavia were they were cleaned. Romanians learned some English waiting for their turn to come to America in Yugoslavia and Austria.

Religion represents one of the most important factors in the Romanian culture. Almost ninety percent of Romanians in United States belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church. At first Romanian government made efforts to undermine religious teachings and faith. Therefore, the immigrants were not used to the religious freedom in America. The first Romanian Baptist

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Church in America was organized in Cincinnati, Ohio on January 1, 1910 with forty eight charter members (Drew 505).



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