History / 25 Thousand Albanians Who Emigrated To The USA From 1884 To 1945
The first Albanian to go to America was from the village of Katund in Korça in 1884. After six years, Kola returned to Katund dressed in French clothes, with a luxurious hat, ironed collars and pockets full of money. He told the villagers about what he had seen in the New World and that in America, a worker earned $ 10 a day, selling flowers and fruits on the road, when a worker in Albania barely made them in a year. In 1892, Kole Christopher became a priest in Boston with 17 friends from this village who were formerly on the curves in Romania and Greece.
Thus, the first Albanian pioneers in America are: Father. Kole Kristofori, Hari Take Rrapo Laska, Dhoskë Sotir Adham, Thoma Sotir Adham, Josif Sotir Adham, Sotir Lezi, Geli Goni Stevenson, At Dhosi Katundi, Dhime Pano Peterson, Fani Kosta, Thoma Kosta, Hari V. Kaçka, Argjir Peto, Fani Cico Angjel, Dhima Andrea Pano, Rrapi Fanes, Toli Dhami.
Costandin Demo in his book “Albanians in America. The first emigrants “, he quoted as follows for one of the first pioneers:” The first 17 emigrants were very active in the national movement and became friends and collaborators of Sotir Peçi and Fan Noli. The most listened to and the most hardworking was Hari Kaçka. In these first years, any meeting held by Albanians as having a political, social character could not be called official or authentic without the presence of Hari Kaçka. When Hari Kaçka spoke to give courage, make people laugh and he had ready the appropriate anecdotes for any event. He had no friend in narrating the events. ”
But who was Father Kole Christopher?
According to Costandin Demos “He was born in the village of Katund in Korça in 1860. He was ordained a priest in 1917 and died in Boston on July 26, 1940, at the age of 80. He was honest, fair, sincere, almost always helpful, steadfast in his principles and strong patriot. At the beginning of the 20th century, the first private free school for girls was opened at Father Kola’s house in Katund. Father Kola’s sister, Sofia, taught five girls, one of whom was my sister Sana. From the school books that my sister brought home, I learned to sing in Albanian and I still remember a poem that I memorized at that time called “Shepherd’s Flute”. You young people, when you look at the past, as well as the good things you enjoy, you should remember with gratitude the name of this simple man from Katundi, who paved the way for America.
Another emigrant, Thanas Viso Mborja, born in Mborje, Korça in 1876, in his memoirs, among other things, writes about the first beginnings of life in America: “Our departure from Romania to America took place in 1901. After we arrived in America, we headed first to Philadelphia. There were few Albanians there and they were not organized at all. Across America, in 1901 there were about 200 Albanians, who had gathered mainly in Jamestown, Boston and its villages, as well as in New York and Buffalo. These were almost all from the Korça area. After Philadelphia we went to Buffalo, where we found many Albanians who had not been in America for more than two or three years to work. Among them I found Kristo Poçi, the son of Pope Costa from Korça. This was a good and wise man. He helped the Albanians, he found a job and when he found out that an Albanian was coming to Buffalo, he closed the shop and went to the train station to wait for him. I too got a job in Buffalo at a factory, transporting boards from one department to another. In that factory, the German workers, were the most skilled and had good jobs.
In 1906, Fan Noli came to Buffalo, whom I went to meet at the train station and picked up at my inn. At first, Fan Noli was financially tight and until he found a job, I kept it at my own expense. Working in the factory was hard for him and he worked there for only a few months, until the patriot Sotir Peci started publishing the newspaper “Kombi” in Boston. Many Albanians from the colonies of Romania, Egypt, Bulgaria began to come to Buffalo, and especially to Jamestown. ”
By Viron Prodani