Forgotten History: The Klan vs. Americans of Greek Heritage in an Era of Hate and the Birth of the Ahepa
The following story by James S. Scofield was published in numerous newspapers on the 75th anniversary of the American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association (Ahepa) in 1997. The story, republished here, is a sobering reminder of the struggles Greek immigrants to the United States and Canada faced when they arrived in the New World.
It was 1922, Americans of Hellenic heritage were suffering personal and economic intimidation orchestrated by the revived Ku Klux Klan. It was time for them to unify and organize, to protect and defend life and livelihood.
The widespread and often violent discrimination against immigrants from Greece is an almost forgotten page of American history. This is probably because of their subsequent success and the great accomplishments of their descendants. Very few persons today, Hellenic or not, are even vaguely aware of the massive continental strength of the Klan of the 1920s and its intensive persecution of foreign-born Greeks, including those who had chosen to become American citizens.
They do not know how deeply the evil shadows of bigotry, hatred and intolerance cast their malignant darkness over North America. Perhaps it is time to remind them.