History of the Order of AHEPA 1922 - 1972
Chapter Two: The Years 1924 - 1927
The Second Supreme Convention
(September 21 - 25, 1924 in Washington, D.C.)
The Second Convention was held in Washington, D.C. under the sponsorship of the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland Chapters. Attending the Convention as delegates were the following:
CURRENT AND PAST SUPREME LODGE OFFICERS:
George Demeter, Supreme President; G.M. Saliba, Supreme Vice President; Nicholas D. Chotas, Supreme Secretary; Harry Coroneos, Supreme Treasurer; C. R. Nixon, Supreme Counsellor; Charles Kirby, Supreme Governor; George A. Polos, Supreme Governor; James Campbell, Mother Lodge; and P. J. Stamos, Mother Lodge.
James Cotsakis, Atlanta;
Harry Demos, Charleston, S.C.;
Charles Lamas, Savannah, Ga.;
F. M. Witherspoon, Shreveport, La.;
G. S. Smitzes, Tampa, Fla.;
James Pantages, Tulsa, Okla.;
Harry Miller, Dallas, Texas;
Them. Petrou, N. A. Loumos, S. Karamillas, George J. Tsougros, Boston, Mass.;
George Caranicholas, Dean Alfange, Dr. C. Carouso, New York City #25;
H. T. Walker, Jr., Philadelphia;
Theo. Polemenakos, Houston, Texas;
C. J. Coventaros, Baltimore;
V. I. Chebithes, George Devakos, Washington, D.C.;
J. C. Lamonettin, Johnstown, Pennsylvania;
Phillip Stylianos, Nashua, N.H.;
Nicholas Valentine, Syracuse, N.Y.;
Angel Colocousis, Haverhill, Mass.;
George D. Raptieu, Detroit, Mich.;
Michael Loris and Nicholas Psaki, Brooklyn, N.Y.;
Nicholas J. Botsakos, George P. Lamont and Bert Adams, New York City #42;
P. P. Stathas, Milwaukee, Wisconsin;
Dr. Anthony Vamvas, Manchester, N.H.;
Nicholas G. V. Nestor, Springfield, Mass.;
Anthony Dedopoulos, Waterbury, Conn.;
C. T. Roland, Ft. Worth, Texas;
E. Polymenides, Miami, Fla.;
Chris P. Leventis, Charlotte, N.C.; and
Theo Papadopoulos, Asheville, N.C.
There were a total of 47 delegates at this convention.
Officers of the convention were: C. R. Nixon, Chairman; Charles T. Rowland, Vice Chairman, and H. T. Walker, Secretary.
Convention Legislation and Mandates
It was at this Washington convention that the official name of "The AHEPA" was taken by the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.
In addition, the convention moved the Headquarters from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.; adopted the official Ahepa emblem, fez and jewelry; set the minimum initiation fee at $20.00; set the minimum age limit for membership at 18 years of age; laid an Ahepa wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery; laid a wreath on the grave of World War I hero George Dilboy, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient; initiated a large class of candidates for membership, and finally, made a visit to the President of the United States.
New Supreme Lodge, 1924-1925
Supreme Lodge officers elected by the convention for the year 1924 - 1925 were:
V. I. Chebithes, Supreme President
G. M. Saliba, Supreme Vice President
Nicholas ·D. Chotas, Supreme Secretary
Harry Coroneos,Supreme Treasurer
C. R. Nixon, Supreme Counsellor
And as Supreme Governors elected Theo. Polemenakos, N. A. Loumos, G. S. Smitzes, F. M. Witherspoon, P. P. Stathas and George Caranicholas. Dr. C. Carouso was appointed Supreme Chaplain, and Nicholas V. G. Nestor was appointed Supreme Warden.
The new Supreme Lodge Headquarters moved into its new quarters in the Investment Building in Washington, D.C., where V. I. Chebithes, Supreme President, was given its supervision and management, and received a monthly salary, and traveling expenses. The new Supreme Lodge also voted the title of "Viceregent" to Brothers Arthur Stephos, George S. Zantos, John G. Apostoles, and John Chambers, in recognition of their services to the fraternity.
Although the official records showed that 2,790 members had been initiated into the Order of Ahepa at the time of the Washington convention, of the 2,122 members on the rolls of active chapters, only 902 were reported as having paid their annual dues.
"V. I.," although only a member of the Ahepa for a few brief months at the time of his election as Supreme President, began his work with systematic programs of Chapter visits, and personal relationship with officers and members, that characterized his following years of service to the fraternity. He visited at least 50 Chapters during the following twelve months, revived several that were on the verge of disbanding, and spearheaded the establishment of 25 new Ahepa Chapters.
During those 12 months, there were 2,421 new members added to the rolls, making a total membership of 5,264 members, of which 2,096 were in good standing with the Headquarters. Two issues of The Ahepa Magazine were published, one of 78 pages and the other of 178 pages. The fraternity's income was sufficient to pay off most of the old debts on the books, leaving a cash surplus, of $3,601.11. It must be noted that the Per Capita Tax payable annually to Headquarters by the Chapters for each good standing member was then only $2.00 per year.
"The Ahepa" was a 78 page magazine published in May, 1925 and it featured a four-page foldout photograph of the convention delegates at the Second Supreme Convention in Washington, D.C. The photo was taken on the White House grounds in Washington, on September 22, 1924, on which date the delegates were received by President Calvin Coolidge. It also included photographs of the convention delegates taken at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at the grave of World War I Congressional Medal of Honor recipient George Dilboy, and another at Arlington National Cemetery.
This amazing publication was personally edited and prepared by Supreme President V. I. Chebithes, and contained photographs of the Chapter Officers of the first 59 Chapters of the fraternity, as well as a listing of their respective officers.
Since the Ahepa is by Constitutional regulation both non-political and non-sectarian, the following notice aptly emphasizes one of these. It was published in this magazine, and is reproduced here in its entirety (From the Springfield, Massachusetts Daily News, Sept. 29, 1924):
The following notice has been sent out by the Supreme Secretary of the Order of Ahepa: By direction of the Supreme President of The Ahepa, you are requested to publish the following Official Communication from the National Office for the information and government of the members of the Order:
To the Officers and Members of The Ahepa: It has come to the attention of the Supreme Council of The Ahepa that a Subordinate Chapter officer recently pledged the vote of his Subordinate Chapter to a national candidate for political office.
Such a pledge is not only contrary to the provisions of our Constitution, but it is also repugnant to the fundamental law of our Fraternity. The Ahepa is not a political organization. It cannot endorse a candidate or candidates for political office. Each man in this Fraternity is free to vote for whomever he chooses, but no one in this Fraternity is free to endorse any candidate in the name of the Chapter or the Fraternity.
When a member extends false and unauthorized pledges in order to advance his personal ambitions, he commits a grave offense against the Order, and such a course cannot be countenanced. It is therefore brought to your notice that a similar repetition on the part of any member of The Ahepa will meet with strict accountability from the National office.
- NICK D. CHOTAS, Supreme Secretary.
In the editorial of this May, 1925 magazine, Supreme President V. I. Chebithes said:
Probably no nationality has sustained greater losses from existing conditions than the Hellenic (in America.) The Greeks, besides being the most recent addition to American society, and, therefore, under greater handicaps in the race for Americanization, are also, by nature and early education, the most patriotic and most home-loving people in the world. Thus these, the noblest of all human virtues, misunderstood and misapplied, delayed the Greeks in their decision to become Americanized and to acquire the rights of American citizenship. Their original idea was to return to their former homes. Consequently, the first ten or fifteen years of their stay in this country were devoted to hard labor and to the closest application to rigid economy. They spared very little time for American culture, and very little money for investments. Their time and their savings were exploited by others.
Of the many benefits alleged to have resulted from the World War, this one is certain: The awakening in the minds and hearts of the Greeks their boundless love for America. Thousands of them who were not American citizens, and therefore not subject to the draft, waived all exemptions and entered the service under the Stars and Stripes ... The end of the war found the Greek heart and soul for America. Whatever his ideas may have been before the war, he now feels that he is part and parcel of this country … He may justly feel that he can stand upon equal footing with every other nationality in this country. The American Flag has been baptized in Greek blood …
... Until the recent World War, the Greeks had played a small part in the establishment and preservation of American institutions. Until then the Greeks were looked upon as mercenary fortune hunters, whose life did not blend into the American plan. They stood beyond the pale of the social, political and patriotic aristocracy of America. They were timid in their desire to participate in the deliberations of those who shaped the destinies of the Republic. But today it is different. Our rights to American citizenship were purchased upon the field of carnage. The Greek taught the world the real meaning of patriotism. They are now Americans by choice, not by accident.
It is only through organized efforts that our lost opportunities may be regained. One half million people, pulling in half a million directions, having no program to follow, no definite policies, and no goal in view, are woefully helpless. They may drift on for many decades and, if blown into port, it will be by accident. Without a powerful centralized organization through which the Hellenes may work for the good of Hellenism we cannot hope to accomplish for our children that which our fathers failed to accomplish for us.
In a well-organized society there is progress, culture and preeminence. In a disorganized society there can be nothing but retrogration, crudeness and obscurity. Through organization we may become better acquainted with each other and with the people among whom we live. Through its channels we may speak to the world our thoughts and may interpret the thoughts of others … It is only through such means that misunderstandings can be avoided, misconceptions rectified and the harmful influence of blind prejudice checked. Our ability to follow the onward march of civilization depends upon our ability to perfect a strong system of disseminating our thoughts.
.. Today, ninety per cent at least of our compatriots have definitely decided to remain in America permanently. They are fast becoming American citizens; are acquiring American culture; are establishing their homes and businesses here, and are rearing their children to be real Americans. This is the country where they will die-the country where their children will live.
... Thus far The Ahepa is the only fraternal organization which satisfies the needs of the hour, and which can furnish the key for the solution of our problems. It is the only Order of its kind in America to which Hellenism may look for aid and comfort. The Ahepa, clothed with the spirit of service, bears the sceptre of power.
"The Ahepa" magazine also describes the visit to the grave of George Dilboy, World War I hero of Greek descent. Dilboy was born in Asia Minor in 1896, of Greek parents, came to the United States, and served in the U.S. Army in World War I. He left with the 26th Division for Europe in 1917, and was killed during the Battle of Belleau Woods, France, on July 18, 1918, after wiping out a machine gun nest of the enemy, single-handed. The President awarded him the Congressional Medal of Honor, posthumously. His body was taken home to Asia Minor for burial, but his grave was desecrated by the Turks. The U.S. government rescued his remains and brought them back to Arlington National Cemetery for burial, in a national ceremony, in honor of the soldier who gave his life to prevent almost certain annihilation of his regiment during the battle.
Also in this issue is an interesting short article by George Horton, who had served as Consulate General in Athens, and was American Consul in Smyrna when that city was destroyed by the Turkish forces in September, 1922. He was the author of several books on modern Greece, and also wrote "The Blight of Asia" which describes graphically the tragedy at Smyrna. Mr. Horton wrote:
To my mind the chief object which the Greeks in America should strive after among themselves is unity and mutual friendliness. This has always been true, but is especially true at the present moment.
The great Smyrna disaster brought the Greek race into prominence, and there was a tendency among certain interested people to say and believe that the Christians of the Orient were no better than the Turks. This sort of insidious and harmful propaganda has had widespread effect on the public mind, and has been aided by the Greeks themselves. It is easily seen that if they are divided in each community into two hostile camps, each speaking ill of the other, they tend to make the native-born Americans believe that they are all bad.
Now, the fact is, that the Greeks are amongst our best citizens. They are all industrious and self-supporting. They very seldom appear in the criminal records. They are not Bolsheviks. They support and love the American Government. They are intelligent, generous and kindly. They very largely marry, establish homes and bring up their children to be good American citizens. I know this and you know it.
Their great weakness is that they are their own worst enemies. Often when I am talking with a Greek, he will tell me that some other Greek is a rascal. I believe the situation is improving. Two or three years ago the two factions were shouting so loudly about each other's villainy that the whole country heard it. People said: 'These Greeks think they still are living back in the country. They have no interest whatever in American affairs.'
I said to a Hellenic friend of mine once: "If you want to bawl out anybody, cuss the President of the United States. Then we'll all think you are an American. If you keep damning Venizelos or Constantine everybody here will think that you ought to go back to the Old Country!"
The best advice I can give to every Greek is not to speak ill of another Greek in public. Choke down your jealousy, or antipathy, or political difference, and whenever you speak of a Greek say, 'He's a very fine fellow.'
In that way you will do much towards combatting sly anti-Hellenic propaganda. If you do otherwise, you will be· actively aiding and abetting that propaganda.
As a comment on the words of George Horton, we can add that individualism to the Nth degree has always been a Greek trait, which can be traced from ancient Greek history to the present day. In some instances, this trait has been invaluable; in other instances, almost disastrous.
The reader may ask, "Just what was the Ahepa doing in that early period of 1924-25, an organization only two years old?"
Mayor T. Stoney of Charleston, S.C. was a member of the Charleston Ahepa Chapter, and he praised his constituents by saying that the Greeks in Charleston have accomplished more for the welfare of the city for the years they have resided there than any other nationality … Savanah, Ga. Ahepa Chapter gave a banquet for their Honorary Ahepan, Mayor Robert M. Hull and his Aldermanic Board … Ahepa Chapters held annual balls and dances, as well as dinners … Established Chapters visited neighboring cities to form new Chapters ... Twelve Ahepans from Tampa, dressed in white trousers, with blue coats, and with Ahepa emblems prominently displayed, marched through the streets of Tarpon Springs, drawing questioners into conversation on the subject of Ahepa, to revive the failing Chapter in that city.
Supreme Lodge Officers and Mother Lodge members were everywhere, creating interest and enthusiasm ... Asheville, N.C. entered a Chapter float in the local Armistice Day Parade, and the float won First Prize ... Asheville also donated 4,000 boxes of candy to the orphans and poor children of the city … President C. J. Demas of Washington, D.C. Chapter #31 then said: "The comparatively young but ever progressive Order of Ahepa is the redeeming feature of today.
There was, perhaps, in the United States, no city in which religious and political differences were more marked than in Washington. Being the Capital City, it naturally was the objective of the onslaughts of the opposing factions. Former friends would not converse with each other; merchants of opposing beliefs would not transact business together; indeed, this fanatic frenzy was carried so far that we could not worship our God in the same sacred halls. But, just as the golden sunlight route before it the dismal shadows of night, so the fraternal influence of Ahepa is soldering the broken links in the chain of friendship, and is gradually healing all wounds. We forget our political and church differences, and remember only that we are brothers in The Ahepa
Nashua, N. H. Chapter held a dinner and dance at which the Chief of Police was the guest of honor … President Varkas of Brookline, Mass. Chapter said: "An Ahepan believes in making his Order a medium of service to his fellow-men, because every lesson taught him in his lodge-room has direct regard to character, manhood, brotherly love, and charity." ... Brooklyn, N.Y. Chapter "adopted" thirty fatherless children of Greece, by sending monthly payments for their livelihood … Manchester, N.H. Chapter attended church in a body, once a month, but not just the Greek Orthodox Church. They visited not only Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, but also the First Congregational Church, and the St. Paul M.E. Church, whose pastor welcomed them with these words:
Young men of the Ahepa, we welcome you today, for we recognize in your fraternity an organization which is seeking to help us build a better America. Throughout the centuries Hellas stood for enlightenment, for liberty and progress; therefore, we pray for your fathers and your brothers across the sea the guidance of God in their effort today to recover the glory of other days. And we extend to you who have come to help us build here in America a great, free, enlightened Republic, the warm hand of fellowship.
... Governor John Winant of New Hampshire was also a speaker at a Manchester Chapter educational open-meeting.
Springfield, Mass. Ahepa Chapter noted that five reverend brothers were among its membership, as well as noted author and journalist William K. Palmer, and City Council member Denis Hogan. Palmer wrote, at the time, a National Anthem· of the Ahepa … Chicago, Ill. Chapter noted that their Treasurer was the Rev. Mark E. Petrakis of St. Constantine's Church … and also that Bishop Philaretos Johannides was on the Chapter Board of Governors, and Secretary John Dakes wrote in a Chicago publication:
It may be a surprise to some, but it is nevertheless a fact that it is not difficult for a Greek to become thoroughly Americanized, for whether it is known or not, the Greek has a great love in his heart for America and wants no other form of government but the one now in operation. He will support no other form. The Ahepa is filling a need, and we heartily congratulate and thank its founders for their wisdom and labors in providing this channel through which the Greeks of America can give their organized and systematic support to this country, the Champion of Human Welfare."
On December 16, 1924, Supreme President Chebithes appealed to all Ahepa Chapters to assist in the sponsorship of Greek orphans, left homeless after the Asia Minor disaster of 1922, and whom Greece had taken in from Asia Minor. The amount then required for support of an orphan was $5 per month, and the Chapters responded with sponsorship of from as few as two to as many as 30 for a single Chapter. The funds were sent to the organization "Relief for Fatherless Children of Greece, Inc." of which Joseph E. Davies was President. Mr. Davies thanked the Ahepa for its generous action in assisting these orphans.
Supreme President Chebithes was, from the first day that he assumed office, an inveterate correspondent, with personal and circular letters to the Chapters and members. He was an acknowledged master orator, having won high honors in both high school and at Centre College in Kentucky in oratory and debating, and was active in two political campaigns while hardly out of his teens. In his visits to Chapters, and into new areas, he received wide acclaim for his addresses not only at gatherings of the Greeks of America, but also as an invited speaker at civic clubs and organizations.
It was also noted that Brother Charles T. Rowland, President of the Fort Worth, Texas Ahepa Chapter had been elected to the Texas Legislature.
The Third Supreme Convention
.(September 28 – October 2, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois)
.The Third Supreme Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois, at the Drake Hotel during September 28 - October 2, 1925. Supreme Lodge Officers present were: V. I. Chebithes, G. M. Saliba, Harry Coroneos, C. R. Nixon, P. P. Stathas, G. S. Smitzes, Charles Kirby, F. M. Witherspoon, and Theo. Polemenakos. Past Supreme Lodge Members present were: George A. Polos, P. J. Stamos, John Angelopoulos, James Campbell, Ben Davis, and George Demeter.
Continued on Page 188
Continued from Page 186
Delegates from Chapters were:
Angel Soteropoulos, Atlanta; Peter J. Davis, Birmingham; Tony Hadji, Charleston, S.C.; John Demosthenes, Savannah; Rev. Emil Panos, Shreveport, La.; Dr. G. Hudspeth, Tampa; T. D. Bennet, Dallas; Dr. Demetrius Mitsakos and John Stratis, Boston; Dean Alfange and John Dounoucos, New York City #25; Panos D. Peppas, Asheville, N.D.; C. J. Coventaros, Baltimore; Dr. C. J. Demas and George Devakos, Washington, D.C.; Const. D. Diamantopoulos, Pittsburgh; Philip Stylianos, Nashua, N.H.; C. A. Tsangadas, Cleveland; Achilles Catsonis, Syracuse, N.Y.; Alex D. Varkas, Brookline, Mass.; Eustace Castanias, Haverhill, Mass.; George D. Raptieu, Detroit; Psaki and Thomas Themelis, Brooklyn, N.Y.; George Stathes and Emanuel Coronis, New York City, #42; Charles Stephan, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Apostolos G. Grekos, Manchester, N.H.; Const. E. Primbas and Peter N. Stavropoulos, Springfield, Mass.; Dr. S. D. Zaph and William Roussis, Chicago; Milton Gounaris, Lawrence, Mass.; Anthony Dedopoulos, Waterbury, Conn.; George N. Skaliotis, Lynn, Mass.; C. J. Critzas, Yonkers, N.Y.; Peter N. Kitsos and John A. Givas, Newark, N.J.; Const. Theodorou and R. R. Roehrig, St. Louis; August Rogokos, Paterson, N.J.; George J. Willias, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; George Janos, Easton, Pennsylvania; Peter N. Sakorafos, Hartford, Conn.; Andrew Nickas, Canton, Ohio; Const. D. Bokaris, Allentown Pennsylvania; Const. M. Mantis, Reading, Pennsylvania; Nicholas Notarys, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; E. J. Lagouros, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; John G. Demakis, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Peter G. Collis, Rochester, N.Y.; Howard I. North, Camden, N.J.; Elias Perivolas, and Elias L. Janetis, Springfield, Mass.; L.A. Kartsonis, Kansas City, Mo.; D. C. Yavis, Binghamton, N.Y.; Louis George, Gary, Ind.; Dennis Stateson, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; John D. Petrou, Akron, Ohio.
Besides the Supreme Lodge and Past Supreme Lodge officers, there were 48 Chapters represented in the 1925 convention, and a total of 74 delegates. Officers of the convention sessions were: Dean Alfange, Chairman; Philip Stylianos, Vice Chairman; and R. R. Roehrig, Secretary.
The 1925 Chicago Supreme Convention officially recognized the 8 "founding fathers" of the Order of Ahepa as the fraternity's Mother Lodge, and gave them the rights of being Life Members of the Order, as well as the perpetual right to attend all future Supreme Conventions at the expense of the fraternity.
Thus, the Mother Lodge of the fraternity was finally recognized for its foresight and devoted services in establishing the Order of Ahepa, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, and we repeat their names at this time with due respect and affection for giving us an association worthy of their efforts.
Nicholas D. Chotas
P. J. Stamos
George A. Polos
Further action by the 1925 Chicago convention denied the right of Past Supreme Lodge officers to be ex-officio members of the Supreme Lodge or the Supreme Convention; Requested the U.S. government to extend a $50 million loan to Greece; Emphatically emphasized that the Order of Ahepa was NOT opposed to the foreign language press in America; That the association do all within its power to facilitate the Naturalization of the Greeks in America; Adopted a revised ceremonial Ritual; Noted that the Supreme Lodge relinquished its prior right of amending the Constitution, which now remained the prerogative of the Supreme Convention; Appropriated $1,200 to be awarded as Scholarships; And that the Supreme Secretary shall remain at the Headquarters at all times.
The convention also held initiation ceremonies, a banquet, and a dance; laid a wreath at Lincoln's statue, selected Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the site of the 1926 convention, and changed the future opening date of Supreme Conventions to the last Monday of August. Supreme Lodge Officers elected by the convention for the fiscal year of 1925-26 were:
V. I. Chebithes, Supreme President (re-elected)
Nicholas A. Loumos, Supreme Vice President
Andrew Nickas, Supreme Secretary
George J. Willias, Supreme Treasurer
C. R. Nixon, Supreme Counsellor
And as Supreme Governors, G. S. Smitzes, Dr. S. D. Zaph, Philip Styllianos, Theo. Polemenakos, C. J. Critzas, and William A. Ganfield. Arthur G. Stephos was appointed Supreme Warden, and F. M. Witherspoon was appointed Supreme Chaplain.
The fraternity continued its phenomenal growth with the establishment of more new Chapters.
During these same 11 months there were 4,299 new members initiated into the Order; and the grand total of new members initiated since July 26, 1922 was now 9,291 members.
Since his election as Supreme President in 1924, V. I. Chebithes had devoted his full time to the fraternity, and during his second term of office he personally visited 73 Ahepa Chapters in the fledgling Ahepa Domain. He established and organized 21 of the 35 new Chapters.
The fraternity's treasury showed an increasing surplus, and new Charters were printed and issued to the Chapters, as well as membership certificates to all members. An annual Convention Magazine of 370 pages was published, prepared and edited by Supreme President Chebithes.
The Fourth Supreme Convention
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (August 30 - September 3, 1926)
The Fourth Supreme Convention convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the Hotel Pennsylvania during the days of August 30 - September 3, 1926. The total number of delegates to this convention was 110, represented by:
Supreme Lodge Officers: V. I. Chebithes, N. A. Loumos, Andrew, Nickas, George W. Willias, C. R. Nixon, A. G. Stephos, George S. Smitzes, Philip Stylianos, Theo. Polemenakos, Dr. S. D. Zaph, and Dr. W. A. Ganfield.
Mother Lodge: George A. Polos, George Campbell, James Campbell, Harry Angelopoulos, and P. J. Stamos.
Harry Demos, Charleston, S.C.; C. P. Thomas, Savannah, Ga.; Dr. G. Hudspeth, Tampa, Fla.; John Theophiles, Peter Galatis, and Spero G. Pappas, Miami, Fla.; Dr. C. B. Rhangos, Tarpon Springs, Fla.; George A. Rousse, Ft. Worth, Texas; George Shropoulos, Dallas, Texas; Harris J. Booras, Boston; Dean Alfange and Dr. P. Coryllos, New York City; J. D. Malakis and George Cambanis, Philadelphia; A. Pappas and James K. Karambellas, Asheville, N.C.; Nicholas Sakelos, Baltimore; Dr. C. J. Demas and Peter Chipouras, Washington, D.C.; Theo. Manos, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; John Dimtsios, Nashua, N.H.; Philip D. Pappas, Cleveland; Achilles Catsonis, Syracuse, N. Y.; A. D. Varkas, Brookline, Mass.; Harry Sovas, Haverhill, Mass.; George D. Raptieu, Detroit; N.G. Psaki and Thomas Themelis, Brooklyn; George Stathes and E. A. Coronis, New York City; P. P. Stathas, Milwaukee; Soterios Dokos, Manchester, N.H.; James Poulaki and George A. Spannon, Chicago; Milton Gounaris, Lawrence, Mass.; Anthony Dedopoulos, Waterbury, Conn.; S. Harrison, Lynn, Mass.; George Veras, Yonkers, N.Y.; Peter N. Kitsos, Newark, N.J.; Constantine Theodorou, St. Louis; A. C. Angelson and August Rogokos, Paterson, NJ.; P. K. Pantelakos, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; George Janos, Easton, Pennsylvania; Achilles Chitopoulos, Brockton, Mass.; Michael Anagnos, Hartford, Conn.; P. L. Adams, Canton, Ohio; P. N. Papastavrou and Milton Scouris, Allentown, Pennsylvania; George N. Passayiotis and James Toulas, Reading, Pennsylvania; Steve Kremastiotes, Bridgeport, Conn.; John Petrou, Akron, Ohio; Nicholas Notarys, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; E. J. Lagouros, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Peter Kamuchey, Minneapolis; Theodore Christie, Rochester, N.Y.; Vasilios Essaris, Wheeling, W. Va.; Thomas Shissias, Camden, NJ.; Demetrios Hambelos, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Peter Skokos, Trenton, N.J.; Alexander Page, Kansas City, Mo.; George J. Pinis, Massillon, Ohio; Chris. A. Alicakos, New Brunswick, N.J.; John Yasser, Sunbury, Pennsylvania; Rev. George Capetanios, Binghamton, N.Y.; Dr. M. Minopoulos, Gary, Ind.; John M. Dottis, Chester, Pennsylvania; Charles Davis Kotsilibas, Worcester, Mass.; Rev. Louis N. Rocca, Ft. Wayne, Ind.; J. E. Evangelos, Portland, Me.; Charles A. Coppas, Richmond, Va.; James Veras, Scranton, Pennsylvania; Elias L. Janetis, Springfield, Mass.; E. J. Stamoulis, Jamaica, N.Y.; Speer Marousis, New Castle, Pennsylvania; George Polay, Warren, Ohio; Michael V. Nicholson, Danbury, Conn.; George E. Phillies, Buffalo, N.Y.; John Papulias, Steubenville, Ohio; C. J. Thomas, Chicago; Peter Sikokis, Chicago; John Govatos, Wilmington, Del.; Alexander Poulicos and Victor Orestes, Clarksburg, W. Va.; George E. Johnson and John C. Papadopoulos, Jr., Astoria, N.Y.; Terry M. Loukiades, New Haven, Conn.; G. Diamond, Stamford, Conn.; Spero Kansas, South Bend, Ind.; Dr. T. A. Stamas, Lowell, Mass., and J. H. DeMetro, Weirton, W. Va.
The number of delegates to each succeeding convention was steadily growing, and as the Ahepa Domain widened and spread into new areas of the country, delegates came from these areas. As one studies these "new" names among the delegates to the Supreme Conventions of 1924, 1925, and 1926, one can readily pick out the names of future Supreme Lodge Officers, and future Supreme Presidents.
A fact not often associated with the Greek immigrant to the United States is the wide dispersion of these men and their families throughout America. As far back as 1910, despite the fact that intense Greek immigration did not really begin until about 1900, the Greek immigrant could be found in every state of the Union, and in practically all cities and towns of any size.
Although there were a few pockets of concentration of immigrants in the largest cities, yet the flow of movement was such that they have a recorded history throughout all areas of America dating from the early 20th century, and in appreciable numbers. A study of the 115 Ahepa Chapters organized between the years of 1922 and 1926 readily shows their dispersion, by a study of the cities in which Chapters were located. A minimum of 25 male members was required to Charter a new Chapter, and this meant that their numbers were much greater than this minimum, since enrollment of all eligible members within any city or town was practically an impossibility.
By 1926, the Order of Ahepa had spread from Florida to Maine, and as far west as Oklahoma, Missouri, and straight up to Chicago. Ahepa was now about half-way "home" -- half-way across the United States in four short years. All this had been accomplished with a limited budget, a limited organizational structure, but with boundless enthusiasm and energy, and many obstacles.
The officers of the 1926 Philadelphia Convention were:
Dean Alfange, Chairman; Achilles Catsonis, Vice Chairman; and George N. Spannon, Secretary.
Convention actions resulted in the establishment of nine Gubernatorial Districts, with a Supreme Governor to be elected to preside over each District, and that these nine (9) Supreme Governors, together with the Supreme President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Counsellor, would then comprise a Supreme Lodge of 14 Officers. The offices of Supreme Warden and Supreme Chaplain were abolished.
The minimum age limit for membership into the Order of Ahepa was raised from 18 to 21 years of age. Also, the convention adopted the Order of Sons of Pericles, as The Junior Order of Ahepa, with membership in the Junior Order to range from 12 to 21 years of age.
The Sons of Pericles
The Order of Sons of Pericles was established and organized by Dr. Alexander Cambadhis of the Manchester, N.H. Ahepa Chapter No. 44, and the petition for adoption by the Order of Ahepa was presented at this convention by Peter T. Kourides, the Supreme Secretary of the Order of Sons of Pericles.
A permanent and regularly published magazine of The Order of Ahepa was mandated. It was also mandated that an Ahepa Excursion to Greece be formed; the "Ahepa Manual" prepared by Past Supreme President George Demeter was adopted; and the convention endorsed the application of the Greek Government for a loan from the U.S. government.
Editor and Supreme President V. I. Chebithes had several worthwhile and stimulating articles in the "4th Annual Convocation Magazine" published in August, 1926, which was 371 pages in length. Some of the passages are the following:
We, as loyal Ahepans, true to our sacred Oath and Obligation to the Order, devoted to those kinds of services which distinguish us as being the archon citizens of our respective communities, must, with all our might and main, defend the institutions, support the systems and render the services necessary to the common welfare of our civilization. We must cast ourselves without reservation into the current of American life, resolute and determined to purge it from corruption and impurities. For ours is the Order whose watchword is "SERVICE" -- not for ourselves, but for others. ...
... The faithful observance of the law and the payment of public taxes does not completely discharge the duties that a good citizen owes to his community. If that were true, there would be no advantage in self-government, and liberty would possess no charm. But, self-government has an advantage and liberty is desirable because they enable the citizen to fight the battles of his weaker and less fortunate brother in his own community, in the confines of his first public interests where his influence is strongest and where the powers of oppression are weakest. One language, one religion, one nationality will not unite a people as effectively and as completely as will one spirit, one purpose, one common interest in life."
The organization, growth and expansion of the Archontic Order of Ahepa is the one unmistakable sign and symbol of the progress of Hellenism in America. Through the influence and teachings of this noble Order, old antagonisms are mitigated and old differences are falling into disrepute, if not into oblivion. By the organization of Ahepa and the religious adherence to its eternal principles, the Hellenic scions in America have bidden good-bye to provincialism, sectionalism, and partisanships. The Order of Ahepa is rapidly uniting them into one spirit, animating them to one purpose.
This noblest of all human instincts -- to serve others -- has never been standardized, has never been taught, as such, in any college or university, has never been specifically treated in any textbook, and as indicated above, not only the ideals concerning its proper application has differed with the ages, peoples, and civilizations, but also the definitions of the very causes served and the kind of services required to satisfy the desire to serve.
Also in the book is an article titled "Ahepanism" by Supreme Secretary Andrew Nickas, and another of greetings from Supreme Governor Dr. S. D. Zaph.
(Continued on page 194)
(Continued from page 192)
Supreme Vice President Nicholas A. Loumos writes:
With the close of the fourth year one finds our Order well established among the great fraternities of the country. The swiftness with which this great organization has gained popularity among the people throughout the country has amazed even the most optimistic followers of our Order. Those who predicted its doom and have sought by every means to strike it a devastating blow from the very inception (and unfortunately among them were several influential Greeks who were unable to see the true light and who were misguided by unscrupulous persons and used by them as weapons to attain their selfish and fiendish purposes) have recognized, much to their utter regret, that they are completely routed.
Very few Ahepans realize what force these 'common enemies' of our Order exerted toward the disruption of our organization. Insidious propaganda was sent out time and again, which was entirely malicious and unwarranted. These forces worked with much more enthusiasm in New England than elsewhere, but fortunately the "old guard" withstood gloriously and triumphantly all the assaults, and our Order has emerged from this insidious and invisible warfare a decided victor. Thus, we proved that our principles are as sound as they are lofty, and our members loyal.
An article titled "Americanism and Ahepanism" by Past President Peter N. Kitsos of the Newark, N.J. Chapter, explains the compatibility between Hellenism and Americanism, and says:
There are ignorant extremists among us who insist that the immigrant of today, to become a real American, must forget, entirely and absolutely, the land of his birth, and must wipe his memory clean of all the cherished recollection that cluster around his native land. Such views cause the more reasonable elements of our society to wonder what would we have in this country today if such had been the case with the earliest to the latest arrivals to America from foreign lands. Certainly, we could not have had the Americanism of today. Americanism is the result not of utter forgetfulness, but of vivid memories. We have become the fortunate heirs of the good things of all the ages. The men and women who left their native lands preserved and brought with them only those things worth preserving. And of those things Americanism was horn.
Supreme Governor Dr. W. A. Ganfield, who was President of Carroll College, Waukesha, Wisconsin, gave an address to the 1925 Chicago Supreme Convention, which was published in the book, titled "The Next Step in Social Progress." One quotation from this article is:
Whatsoever you would put into the state, you must first put into the schools. If I could control the American school room for thirty years, I would fix American character for a century … As goes the American school room so goes America, and as goes America, so goes the world.
The address given by Supreme Secretary Andrew Nickas at the Chicago Convention banquet is also published in full. Some excerpts:
The average Greek immigrant arriving in this country ... his only desire and wish is not to disappoint the American people in their thoughts of him as the direct descendant of so noble a race, and if he is fortunate enough to settle in a community where a general atmosphere of just and equitable treatment prevails, he is quick to assimilate and adopt the great American idea which is called Americanism, for the idea of Americanism was established upon this soil to serve as a Center for believers from all over the world ... when we look about us today into the faces of the delegates, every one of whom hut a few years ago came to America from the little country of ours as immigrants, without any friends, without any money, unable to speak the English language, unable to understand or be understood by American people, and to see them today after so short a period, transformed into loyal God-fearing American citizens responsible, if you please, for the organization of such a vibrant and forceful fraternity as The Ahepa … this is a fair example and a fair exhibit of the Hellenic patriotism in America, and a convincing argument to those who believe that the assimilation of any foreign group, to the American ideals and principles, is not possible in one generation … 65,000 Greek immigrants served under the Stars and Stripes during the World War and distinguished themselves, 65,000 may not be so many when you consider the numbers engaged in that war, but it is 25 per cent of the entire Greek population in the United States at that time.
On February 3 and 4, 1926 the Supreme Lodge met in Washington, D.C., and on the evening of February 4 was given a banquet in their honor by Washington Chapter #31 at the New Willard Hotel. Toastmaster was Dr. William A. Ganfield, Supreme Governor, and President of Carroll College, Waukesha, Wisconsin Speakers were U.S. Secretary of Labor J. J. Davis, and U.S. Senators Ernst of Kentucky and King of Utah. The Supreme Lodge also visited President Coolidge at the White House on February 3, 1926.
A few excerpts from reports received from Chapters include:
Charleston, S.C. Chapter reported another annual banquet with distinguished local citizens as speakers ... Savannah, Ga. Chapter reported donations to the Community Chest and Red Cross drives … Jacksonville, Fla. reported an outstanding installation and increased membership … Fort Worth, Texas Chapter reported its Citizenship Classes held twice a month was a well-established program, and many contributions made to local community charitable causes … Dallas, Texas Chapter publishes a monthly newspaper, edited by Tom N. Semos, and the staging of Brother Alex Angel's play, "Hearts that Break." The Chapter was a part of the Patriotic Luncheon held by the American Patriotic Association of Dallas on July 4 … Annual outings or picnics were held by most Chapters during the summer to which non-Ahepans and their families were always invited, with attendances running into the hundreds, even thousands in larger communities … Boston, Mass., Chapter had 1,000 people at its January installation, and over 4,000 at their annual Ball in Symphony Hall, which Mayor Nicholas attended, and during which he led the Ball Grand March … This was also the first appearance of the famed Boston Ahepa Patrol.
Principal speaker at the Houston, Tex. Chapter installation of officers was Judge Murray B. Jones, member of the Chapter … Baltimore, Md. Chapter held its annual banquet and ball on March 10, and heading the banquet committee was Theodore Agnew, father of Vice President Spiro T. Agnew. Brother Agnew later became Secretary of his Ahepa Chapter, and the future Vice President of the United States, Spiro T. Agnew, as a youngster, helped his father stuff Ahepa envelopes and mail them to the members. In 1926, Theodore Agnew was Chaplain of his Chapter. He later became a District Governor of Ahepa, of District No. 3.
The Johnstown, Pennsylvania Chapter reports "we first bought a church for which we paid $36,000; then we established a school for the Greek children, and for this all credit is due The Ahepa These are the reasons we are behind in our chapter work but during the coming fall we expect to have a drive to enlarge the membership of our chapter." ... Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Chapter, as a whole, acted as Godfathers in baptizing infant Fotini Ahepa Garnier, daughter of member P. Garnier … Nashua, N.H., at four different meetings, had guest speakers including Mayor Sargent, Pastor Otto Lyding of the Unitarian Church … Chapters also reported continuing support of the Greek War Orphans fund … In an article prepared by Panos D. Peppas of the Cleveland, Ohio chapter he stated: "there are now 6,000 Greeks in Cleveland, who own over 250 restaurants, and almost 100 confectioneries." ... Syracuse, N.Y. participated in the Americanization League annual dinner. ... Brookline, Mass. became officially known as the "Samuel Gridley Howe" Chapter, in honor of the American Philhellene who served as Surgeon-General of the Greek Armed Forces in Greece during the Greek Revolutionary War of 1821; adopted two more Greek war orphans; established a Christmas Tree fund fot children; and scheduled six educational meetings a year, with lecturers …
Haverhill, Mass. officially opened its own "Ahepa Home" on December 6, 1925, hosted Mayor Fred McGregor at its annual dance, and took part in the Flag Day Parade. The Chapter also established a Chapter of the Order of Sons of Pericles, the Junior Order of Ahepa Manchester, N.H. was Sons of Pericles Chapter No. 1, and the fraternity was founded in Manchester, N.H. by Dr. Alexander Cambadhis. Mayor McGregor wrote the Chapter: "Ahepa is worthy of the highest commendation and support of the people of the United States" and Superintendent of Schools Barbour also echoed these sentiments … Brooklyn, N.Y. reported it had 274 members … The New York metropolitan area chapters hosted 4,000 people at their annual ball, with most of the proceeds going to the Greek American Orphanage and School of New York … Milwaukee, Wisconsin supported the Near East Relief orphans, donated to the Community Fund and at Easter to needy families, gave Christmas baskets, attended services in a body at the Presbyterian Church of West Allis.
Manchester, N.H. reported:
The coming of The Ahepa into the community of Manchester could not remain unnoticed as every one was aware of the better spirit that prevailed among the local Greeks since the coming of the Order; also everyone was aware that this fact was due to only one thing-organization. The young men of our community were on the alert, and when they noticed that our salvation lies in organizing ourselves, they grasped the opportunity and began talking among themselves about the possibilities of such a move. So one fine morning last January, Manchester Chapter received a letter from the young men asking to help them organize. A Committee was appointed by the chapter which met with the boys and it was agreed that if they wanted something to last they should organize a secret fraternity. The boys agreed that the Chapter commission one of our members, Brother Alexander P. Cambadhis, M.D. to prepare a ritual, and this is how the present ritual of the Sons of Pericles came to be. The Order of the Sons of Pericles is now sanctioned by Manchester Ahepa Chapter No. 44, under the approval of the Supreme Lodge, and it is our sincere hope that our Fourth Annual Convocation will adopt them as the Boy Auxiliary of our Order.
The Order of Sons of Pericles
Queen City Chapter No. 1 (Instituted – 1926)
The following are listed as the "Mother Lodge" of the Order of Sons of Pericles:
C. E. Korcoulis, Archon Megistan; A. C. Hasiotis, Megistan; P. T. Kourides, Secretary; P. D. Clainos, Treasurer; W. Vasiliou, High Priest; W. Hasiotis, High Guardian; W. Chaloge, Outer Guard; G. Houliaras, Inner Guard; G. Papagiotas, Master of Ceremonies.
Dr. Alexander P. Cambadhis, Chairman; Soterios Docos, Charles Gekas, Aspostolos Grekos, Christy Tassie.
The officers of the new Order were installed on February 3rd by Past Supreme President of Ahepa George Demeter, and a second chapter was established in Haverhill, Mass. The first annual ball was held on April 9 and netted $600 for the educational fund; Supreme President Chebithes visited the new Chapter and Order on April 20; and the Manchester and Haverhill Sons Chapters participated in the Flag Day Parade in Haverhill.
The Chicago Ahepa Chapters make plans for a combined charity ball for the benefit of Greek Refugee Children in Greece, for which Mayor William E. Dever of Chicago issued a special proclamation for the event to be held on May 10th … more than 6,000 people attended the charity ball, for which Mayor Dever served as Honorary Chairman ... The Lawrence, Mass. Daily Eagle, Feb. 24, 1926, stated in its columns: "Speaking before the members of the Lawrence, Lowell, and Haverhill Chapters of The Ahepa in Lafayette Hall, Monday evening, Milton Gournaris, President of the local chapter, urged all members to take out naturalization papers at the earliest opportunity and declared that failure to do so will mean exclusion from the lodge."
Waterbury, Connecticut gave a benefit dinner for Near East Relief victims, its third annual outing in July (summer outings were almost universally held by Ahepa chapters wherever they were established, since this was an opportunity for entire families to meet for a day of feasting, games, in an atmosphere reminiscent of former village celebrations.
I can well remember the outings or picnics given annually by the Ahepa Chapter in Wichita, Kansas, when all families of the city and surrounding towns came together for a day of fun, games and feasting. Lambs were barbecued from early morning on the grounds, or in the ovens of the local bread companies and taken to the outing; races with prizes for the children, baseball games, a meal at lunch and another meal just before dark, Greek folk dancing in a covered pavilion, or sometimes on the grass. They were an occasion to look forward to, and are often remembered. More than likely, at least 95% of active Ahepa Chapters sponsored these annual picnics, until, in later years, such affairs were no longer "fashionable."
Lynn, Massachusetts, described glowingly the benefits of its "Ahepa Home," its Chapter orchestra, and the visit of Supreme President Chebithes: "The Kentucky Greek (Chebithes lived in Kentucky from 1906 to 1919) had started. For one hour and twenty minutes he held the members pinned to their chairs ... there was simplicity of expression, practicability in thinking and an indescribable humor ... a flow of words pointing out our past mistakes and an eloquent analysis of the problems which confront the Greeks in America and how The Ahepa will assist us in our daily endeavours." ... Lynn also welcomed Mother Lodge member "Barba" P. J. Stamos who had moved to Lynn ... "Archon Stamos had rendered incalculable service in New England; his lectures on the "History of Ahepa," Ritualistic work and Rules of Procedure, as well as his advice, have had a great deal to do with stabilizing the work of Ahepa in New England.
An article "The Trouble with Us" by P. G. Vynios includes the following advice: "Just as we take care to beautify our homes, so should we provide for the community in which we live. In our homes we only repose, but it is in the community that our life is formed and our character is molded, ... the world is what we make it. We alone create our positions, good or bad, in the community. The community does not create our positions. It only affords us opportunities to fill the positions for which we are fitted. Therefore, instead of complaining that others do not strive for the betterment of our community so we can live in it comfortably or because others do not "prepare a table for us," we should examine ourselves and inquire if we have done all within our means toward this end."
Yonkers, N.Y. reported that 45 of its members had recently received their final naturalization papers, through the assistance of the Chapter Naturalization Committee; took part in Washington's Birthday celebrations in Yonkers; gave financial aid to the Greek-American institute, and supported 8 Greek orphans … Newark, N.J. aided the Greek American institute; took part in a parade and ceremonies on Memorial Day, unveiling the statue "Wars of America," with more than 500 Ahepans from New York and New Jersey taking part.
The Patriotic Order Sons of America paid tribute to the Order of Ahepa by stating: "this organization is to be congratulated on its vision of Americanism and the spirit in which it seeks to exemplify it. The Greeks are among the most thrifty of our citizens, and are all good business men. Such an organization as the Order of Ahepa is not only welcome for the good it may do the Greeks, but also for its definite contribution to the cause of making America better by making better Americans."
St. Louis, Mo. celebrated its first birthday with a banquet, with Mayor Victor J. Miller as principal speaker, and the Mayor said: "I find from the City Records that the Greeks who come to America are law-abiding and self-supporting. Nearly all become property owners, and they obey our laws." ... Judge Holtcamp was featured speaker at the second annual picnic; and the chapter sponsored the concert of Madame Maria Coromilas-Stratos at the Sheldon Memorial Auditorium.
Paterson, New Jersey Chapter #54 held lecture meetings on naturalization, helped build a local Greek church, and honored Supreme President Chebithes with a banquet, also attended by Mayor Colin McLean, Congressman Seger, and other officials … Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania held its summer outing … Hartford, Conn. reported: "the third and our most sacred accomplishment of all is that our Chapter has now determined to straighten out and reorganize the Greek community at Hartford." ... Canton, Ohio took part in the Centennial Parade at Akron, held its 1st annual picnic, noted that Judges Charles Krichbaum and A. W. Agler were members of the Chapter, established a fund for needy parents to buy clothing for their children; and the Canton, Ohio Daily News of Nov. 10, 1925, published a double-page picture of L Company, 10th Infantry, Ohio National Guard, in World War I, which was composed mainly of Hellenic citizens, and an excerpt from the accompanying article says:
"The picture reproduced on this page shows the members of old Company L. It was recruited from volunteers before the Draft Act, and was at full strength 23 days after President Wilson signed the Declaration of War. This company was unique in several ways. It had as its nucleus a company of Canton Greeks. They were mostly aliens at the time; their mother country was unfriendly to the cause then. No element of the foreign population of Canton was quicker to sign up for service or now can claim more credit for their part than those of Greek antecedents ... The Ahepa has dedicated itself to the betterment of the Greek-born citizens in America and has set up bonds of fidelity and friendship as two of its greatest aims."
The newspaper also carried a full-page article and photo on the Canton Ahepa Chapter, and the Order of Ahepa
Allentown, Pennsylvania maintained a steady pace of naturalization meetings, and fraternal programs, including the annual picnic … with wide newspaper reporting of their activities … . Reading, Pennsylvania held its annual banquet and among those present were Mayor William Sherman, Judge Schaeffer, Superintendent of Schools Rapp and other officials … the Bridgeport, Conn. Times published this editorial: "The Greeks of Bridgeport are an active, energetic and progressive body of men. Many of them are members of Ahepa, Bridgeport Chapter #62. They are earnest in their endeavors and have accomplished great good." … Akron, Ohio held its picnic, established a "Death Beneficial Club" to pay funeral expenses of deceased members, heard William Lloyd Davis, Ahepan, of Akron University at a lecture, donated funds for the building of the Greek Orthodox Church
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania reported steady growth and that all chapter members were either naturalized or had their first papers … . Bethlehem, Pennsylvania held open meetings with prominent speakers, held a concert and dance, and the annual picnic speakers were Judge McKeen, Episcopal Bishop Talbot, Asst. District Attorney Mauch, and Mayor Yeakle.
Minneapolis, Minn. held its first anniversary banquet, and in an article, Chapter President Peter E. Kamuchey said:
Ahepa is not an organization of any certain class of the Greeks in the United States; its purpose is to secure education, progress, prosperity, and brotherly love for all. There are many Americans of Greek origin of this great country of ours who are highly educated; many progressive and many prosperous. But we also find many Americans of Greek nationality in this country who need advice, who need teaching of Americanization, who need education, who have a craving for education and progress, and who are exceedingly anxious to become not only citizens of the United States of America, but better citizens and neighbors.
… Rochester, N.Y. participated in the testimonial banquet for Henry Morgenthau, former Ambassador to Turkey, contributed to Near East Relief, to American Legion Endowment Fund and to the local Greek Church.
Wheeling, W. Va. hosted City Manager Kirk, President Mechlenburg of Linsley College and other officials at its banquet honoring Supreme President Chebithes, and the Wheeling Register of Jan. 7 said: "Wheeling business men who heard Mr. Chebithes declared him to be one of the most forceful and eloquent speakers who had appeared in this city." … Camden, N.J. held its first anniversary banquet which Supreme President Chebithes attended.
Trenton, N.J. Mayor Donnelly wrote:
Trenton Ahepa Chapter #72 has been performing an admirable mission in all branches of civic activities. Its members are outstanding in their loyalty to Trenton and have always proved themselves sincere and law-abiding citizens. I feel I would be remiss in appreciation did I not pay them this tribute of recognition for their efforts in behalf of the advancement of their adopted city."
… Kansas City, Missouri, held its 1st annual picnic on July 11, supported naturalization classes, the Near East Relief, worked with the World Service Club, participated in Flag Day … . Sunbury, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the electric light, was active and the Sunbury Daily of May 5 wrote:
The first banquet was held last evening of the Ahepa … The movement of Greeks to America is recent. Ninety percent of those living here have been here less than 25 years. Statistics show that their caliber is one of the best of all foreign lands whose citizens have come to America.
… Binghamton, N. Y. also held its annual banquet, with "V. I." (Supreme President Chebithes) as main speaker (it must be noted here that "V. I." made 73 visits to Chapters that year and was the speaker at almost all Chapter banquets given) and 3 orphans were given financial support, Mayor Cook spoke at the banquet and Supt. of Schools Kelly was toastmaster.
The Binghamton Press, April 22, 1926 wrote: "Supreme President Chebithes is one of the most learned speakers who has ever addressed a gathering of this nature, the guests were enraptured by his brilliant oratory" … Gary, Ind. reported its banquet for "V. I." was attended by many local officials, and the Gary Post-Tribune headlined "Ahepa Pledged to Ideals of City and Country," and quoted "V. I." as saying: "The Ahepa stands for Americanism, Hellenism, and education," and Judge Greenlee spoke of "the Hellenic people's respect for law and their desire to become better Americans." … Worcester, Mass. announced that its establishment was through the efforts of Rev. Vassilios Lokkis of the Brookline Chapter; that the 1st New England Convention of Ahepa was held in Worcester on Sept. 19, 1925; a banquet was held with Mayor O'Hara and Congressman Stobbs attending; presents were given at Christmas to the needy and to hospital patients; the chapter sold 700 tickets to the Holy Cross College production of Euripides' "Hecuba" presented on May 30, 1926, and gave a banquet following the play in honor of the Holy Cross faculty and the cast of the play.
Fort Wayne, Indiana featured "V. I." at its banquet also, with Mayor Geake, and an Ahepa fund-raising team took top honors throughout the city in raising funds for the new Chamber of Commerce building, and The Fort Wayne Press editorialized:
A score or more of gentlemen, leaders in various activities of Fort Wayne's busy life -- business, professional, and spiritual -- received a mild shock Thursday evening when they attended the first banquet given by The Ahepa … . These gentlemen were guests of their fellow citizens of the Hellenic strain. Ahepa is a word made of the initial letters of an organization the guests knew nothing much conerning. The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association is the society and its members are Greeks. The shock here alluded to was imparted when the guests of Ahepa learned that it embraces the high aspiration and persevering endeavor of Americans of Greek blood to become good American citizens in all that can be implied by the distinction. They want to know American genius and institutions, to be a part of the great community in which they reside and are to form their lives and to be loyal in spirit and in deed to the great republic whose hospitable shores and abundant opportunities have welcomed them. The Greeks of Ahepa are doing that of their own volition and initiative, by their own zeal and effort.
The guests of Ahepa's banquet Thursday evening got their shock when they understood what these Greeks of Fort Wayne, Ind., U.S.A., were about. Those guests then appreciated that what these alien-born citizens are trying of themselves to do might very well have been given a start and a fostering interest by some of the native-born, even the long-rooted of Colonial descent. We believe there will be a spirited interest henceforth in Ahepa We believe also that other alien-born of other strains may not be taken quite so smugly as of course and permitted to become good Americans entirely on their own.
Ahepa is a good thing for every seasoned and well-settled American citizen to think about. We hope many of them will be similarly shocked by discovery of some delinquencies to a duty which should engage and kindle their inherited American spirits.
Toastmaster of the Ft. Wayne banquet was the Rev. Louis N. Rocca, Ahepan, and pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church … . Portland, Me. reported its activities … . Richmond, Va. staged a Masquerade Ball, and heard Virginia Commonwealth's Attorney Satterfield at its banquet honoring Supreme Secretary Nickas … . Scranton, Pennsylvania held its first banquet, increased its membership despite a current coal strike in the area, honored "V. I." at the banquet and heard speakers Judge Maxey and City Solicitor Little … . Springfield, Mass. reported that since the consolidation of the two previous local Chapters into the new Chapter, matters were going well, and the banquet honoring "V. I." held in Dec. 1925 was attended by Mayor Parker, Editor Sherman, the Postmaster, and many other officials and prominent citizens … the annual ball attracted 500 couples … 150 members paraded in the July 4, 1926 Parade in Springfield commemorating 150 years of American independence, and the Ahepa participants took First Prize in the parade competition, as an Ahepa Patrol in the fraternal division. Dr. Baker, Parade Chairman, said afterwards:
You not only deserve first prize for this affair, but many congratulations. This goes to prove that you do not have to be born in America to become a real American. The spirit which you boys show today on this occasion, is enough to outshine any of us born in this land
The Ahepa Boston Patrol also took part in the parade in Springfield that day.
M. S. Sherman, Editor of The Springfield Union wrote to Supreme President V. I. Chebithes: "Please permit me to say that I do not recall when I have listened to a better address than that which you delivered here in Springfield Monday night."
The Editorial in the Springfield Union of Dec. 15, 1925 said:
Springfield residents of Greek extraction at a dinner Monday night listened to an eloquent and inspiring address by Vasilios I. Chebithes of Washington, supreme president of the national organization of The Ahepa Unlike some other racial groups, the sons and daughters of Greece are attending to their own Americanization. They are not looking to others to acquaint them with the principles of the American form of government but are ascertaining those principles for themselves under the guidance of their own leaders.
They are a thrifty, patriotic, liberty-loving people, having behind them centuries of culture and learning. By heritage they fit quite naturally into the scheme of things here. They feel very strongly that, if America is good enough to welcome them to its hospitable shores, the least they can do is to promote, through their own endeavors, the task of assimilation. This society not only teaches the soundest of American doctrines but it inculcates respect for law, furthers education and religion, and broadens friendship. It is movements such as this that make for the safety and the continued progress and prosperity of the Republic.
The Americanism that Mr. Chebithes preaches -- and there is only one kind worthy of the name -- cannot fail to create a deep and lasting impression upon those to whom it is particularly addressed. He has made the ideals of The Ahepa such as to shame those who love to prate of their 100 per cent Americanism.
If there could be a similar organization operating within and for every immigrant group now living here, we should have a speedy end of the assimilation problem and with it a homogeneity that makes for national strength.
Jamica, N.Y.-the Queens County News of June 11, 1926 carried an article by reporter Edward Hale Brush:
It used to be said, 'When Greek meets Greek then comes the tug of war! Nowadays they say instead, 'When Greek meets Greek they found a Chapter of the Order of Ahepa' This applies especially to Long Island where in the past few years those of Greek birth or extraction have not only become numerous but have won for themselves an important standing in the business community and a reputation as loyal and progressive citizens, loyal both to American citizenship and ideals and to the traditions of ancient Hellas, whence they or their fathers came.
The other day there was unveiled in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan a statue called "The Discus Thrower" by a Greek sculptor, Costas Dimitriadis, which has been held worthy to be compared with the immortal sculptures of the ages of Phidias and Pericles. "The Discus Thrower" was presented to the city of New York by Mr. and Mrs. Ery Kehaya, of Park Avenue, Manhattan, and was unveiled by their two-year-old son, Ery, Jr., as an expression of gratitude by Mr. Kehaya for the opportunities America has afforded him and other Greeks for successful achievement. It is of bronze and won the grand prize in a competition at the Olympic Games in Paris and was described by Joseph Breck, representing the Metropolitan Museum at the dedication, as "a symbol of human perfection, the modern equivalent of the "Discus Thrower" chiseled in ancient Greece."
Another indication of the bond of sympathy between modern Greece and modern America and revived interest in ancient Hellas is the increased study of both ancient and modern Greek in the colleges and the establishment of the American School for Classical Studies in Athens, which has just received a gift of 40,000 rare volumes for its library, erected by the Carnegie Foundation. "
Queens County News, June 11, 1926.
Long Island Life, May, 1926:
In New York City it is worthy of note that more than 150 students of the James Monroe High School have selected to take up Greek. The patriotic Order of Ahepa is doing much to encourage this trend of things.
… New Castle, Pennsylvania noted its honorary members were Representative Bart Richards, attorney Dickey, Councilman Ginkinger, and held its annual banquet. … Danbury, Conn. hosted Supreme Secretary Andrew Nickas at its banquet, and the Bridgeport, Conn. Chapter joined with Danbury in marching in the July 4 parade, and the annual outing was held … . New Chapter Buffalo, N.Y. initiated 60 members with "V. I." officiating at ceremonies on June 4, and honored the Supreme President with a banquet the next day … . Steubenville, Ohio held its outing … . Chicago #93, #46 and #94 gave a charity ball for the Greek refugees, at which $12,000 was collected, and #93 held lectures on hygiene, immigration, citizenship, modern education, Ahepa, and neo-hellenic poetry.
South Bend, Ind. reported its honorary members were Mayor Montgomery, Judge Pattee, Rev. J. M. Francis … . Lowell, Mass. #102 was established and installed before 3,500 persons in Memorial Auditorium, with Supreme President Chebithes and Supreme Vice President Loumos officiating, and a welcome address from Mayor Donovan … . Weirton, W. Va. made plans to reorganize the local Greek School, and named two Sundays of each month as "Go to Church" days … . The Oak Parker, July 30, 1926 wrote: "At the meeting of the Oak Park, Illinois Ahepa Chapter, Dr. Godolphin of the Grace Episcopal Church, Mr. and Mrs. Forbes, Mr. and Mrs. Sclanders, and others of the D.A.R. Americanization Committee attended and spoke in behalf of Education." … Marlboro, Mass. presented prizes to graduates of Marlboro High School. … Erie, Pennsylvania reported first year gains in membership and activity … . Jersey City, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Norwich, Conn., Elmira, N.Y., Pittsfield, Mass., and Dayton, Ohio all reported activity and progress during the first weeks after their recent "birth."
An article was written on the famed "Boston Patrol" of Boston, Mass. Chapter and its organizer, John Stratis. The Patrol was called the "pride and glory of New England." Patrol dress was tuxedo trousers, dress shoes, white shirts, blue capes lined with white, with the emblem of Ahepa on the fold of the capes, and an Evzone fez.
George Horton's book "The Blight of Asia" which details the massacres at Smyrna in 1922, is reviewed, and on the aftermath of the massacre, the reviewer says:
Mr. Horton considers that the conduct of Greece during the Turkish massacres (at Smyrna) and after the destruction of Smyrna is one of the most glorious achievements in the history of that country and reaches a higher level ethically and morally than either Marathon or Salamis. Although nearly bankrupt on account of her participation in the Great War, Greece gave hospitality to the refugees pouring by thousands into her territory, irrespective of race, and strained her resources to the utmost to feed and shelter them. He lays great stress on the fact that there were no reprisals, a record that would do credit to any country. The sufferers in Asia Minor had friends and relatives all over Greece, and the wounded, maimed and outraged widows and orphans were coming by shiploads to the main land and the islands, with their dreadful tales of massacre, yet not a single one of the Turks living on Greek soil was injured or molested. Of the Greek men seized and taken into the interior by the Turks few returned alive, and the soldiers taken prisoner by them either died of ill-treatment, or came back "all eyes and bones" as Miss Minnie Mills is quoted as saying, while the Turkish prisoners of war taken by the Greeks were well fed and treated
Angel Alex's play "Hearts That Break" was reported thusly:
"The play cleverly discloses to the public the mission of The Ahepa It was successfully presented on the Canton, Ohio stage on June 12, 1926, and its brief synopis discloses Frank Ricoulo, a citizen of Hellenic descent, who, believing that his compatriots in America are not as deeply respected as they should be, posed as a Frenchman."
The following newspaper article in Washington, D.C.: "E. J. DEMAS, 19, TO JOIN BYRD'S AVIATION EXPEDITION TO TOP OF EARTH"
Epaminondas J. Demas, 19, bellboy at the Hotel Washington, (Washington, D.C.) and recently selected as a member of Commander Byrd's Arctic expedition, will leave today to join the crew of Byrd's ship, the Chantier. Demas is a graduate of Technical High School. He is a native of Greece, and has only lived in this country nine years. He is interested in aviation and polar exploration, and a short time ago completed a flying course at the National Aviation Field. Commander Byrd became interested in young Demas. The boy called at his office and they chatted about their mutual hobby-aviation. When Demas learned of Byrd's polar expedition, he filed an application as a volunteer and was accepted.
A small Greek flag was in Byrd's plane that flew over the North Pole, and E. J. Demas donated this Greek flag, in later years, to the Ahepa Archives at Washington, D.C., where it now is kept. He became an Ahepan after his return from the expeditions with Byrd.
The Convocation Book of 1926 closes with a reprinting of newspaper accounts in the year 1923 of the burial of American World War hero, George Dilboy, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient:
Washington, D.C., November 12 - A ceremony without parallel took place today in Washington, when in the lofty auditorium of the great church with its Greek pillars at Ninth and Massachusetts Avenue and in the quiet shades of Arlington full military honors were paid as the remains of George Dilboy, Private, 103d Infantry, were laid to rest.
The affair was carried out under the auspices of the Greek citizens of Washington, who were assisted by representatives of the military and civil Government of highest rank. The programme contemplated funeral services in the Mount Vernon Church, under the auspices of the American Veterans of Greek descent, with Fathers Paul and Daniels, Greek priests, officiating and addressed by Senator David I. Walsh, of Massachusetts, the Greek charge d'affairs, M. T. Salmados and Frank J. Irwin, representing the National Association of Disabled Veterans, George Dilboy Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars of Somerville, Mass., Private Dilboy's home town, and George Dilboy Post, American Legion of New York City, sent delegations to the services.
In words of poetic eloquence, Vasilios I. Chebithes, commander of the American Veterans of Hellenic Descent, told the story of the patriotism and glorious death of George Dilboy. In simple, direct words, the story of Dilboy's death at Belleau Woods was told by an eye-witness, Colonel S. M. Shumway, who commanded Company H of the 103d Division, of which Dilboy was a member. 'He died facing the Germans, carrying on while wounded with his gun in his hands. He routed a machine gun alone. I can say no mOregon He was as fine a soldier as ever served under the Stars and Stripes.' Later, the most valuable gift of a grateful government, the Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded him, posthumously.
The body, after a brief wait in the Argonne, was sent to Asia Minor, where he was born, for burial at his birthplace. While it lay in state in the church the Turks entered and denied it the peace of death, hurling the casket to the ground and driving the parents and other Greeks from the little town. Activity of the State and Navy Departments later located the body and it was surrendered in September this year near Smyrna to Yankee bluejackets by a Turkish guard of honor, making belated amends.
It was brought to this country by wish of his parents that it might be buried with the A.E.F. dead in the national cemetery at Arlington. The body was brought to the church from the receiving vault at Arlington with a guard of honor this morning. It passed through a lane of World War veterans in olive drab, standing at attention, into the crowded church where Greek monarchists and Greek Republicans forgot their differences to do honor to him who honored two nations. Greek priests conducted the ancient ritual of their Orthodox Church. There was read a letter from the President; tributes by the Greek Minister, V. I. Chebithes, commander American Veterans of Greek descent, other representatives of patriotic organizations, Mabel Boardman of the American Red Cross, and the oration was delivered by U.S. Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. Several thousand marchers were in the procession from the church. Sen. Walsh said:
"How fitting it is that one of the most brilliant and heroic episodes of the World War is to be found in the story of the death of this immigrant youth! How inspiring it is that such a fine example of devotion to America and what America stands for should be manifested by a foreign-born youth."
The new Supreme Lodge Officers elected by the 1926 Supreme Convention were:
V. I. Chebithes, Supreme President (re-elected);
Nicholas A. Loumos, Supreme Vice President (re-elected);
Andrew Nickas, Supreme Secretary (re-elected);
George J. Willias, Supreme Treasurer (re-elected);
N. G. Psaki, Supreme Counsellor
And the following as Supreme Governors: Dr. T. A. Stamas, C. J. Critzas, George E. Phillies, John Theophiles, Dr. William A. Ganfield, Dr. C. J. Demas, George N. Spannon, Rev. Louis N. Rocca, and C. R. Nixon.
Miami, Florida, was selected as the site of the 1927 Supreme Convention.
Shortly after the adjournment of the convention, a hurricane struck Miami, Fla., and in response to a call for help from the Miami Chapter for assistance for the members who were victims of the disaster, the Supreme Lodge raised $5,444.15 in funds for food, shelter and medical aid, which was sent to the Miami Chapter for distribution.
During the next 12 months, the expansion of Ahepa finally reached the West Coast. During the year, 40 new Chapters were organized and established.
The far-reaching success of the Order of Ahepa brought an increased and bitter attack upon the fraternity from many misguided and blind critics who went to extremes in calling the Order of Ahepa an anti-Hellenic organization. This included some of the Greek press of America, as well as certain members of the clergy of the Greek Orthodox Church, even though some of Ahepa's most ardent supporters were Greek clergymen. The fact that Ahepa decreed itself to be Non-political and Non-Sectarian apparently was more than certain self-appointed leaders in various communities could stand, and they set themselves up as judges of Ahepa's policies and programs.
In his book "The Greeks in the United States" Dr. Theodore Saloutos writes the following of these attacks against Ahepa:
Its leaders were denounced as opportunists and misguided pseudo-patriots … Critics charged that Ahepa was downgrading the Greek school, disassociating itself from the Greek church, and misrepresenting everything worthy among the Greeks in the United States. It was accused of offering a distorted picture of American Hellenism to the outside world … . Much of the furor arose over the use of the English language in all official matters. Critics felt this to be a denial of one's cultural roots. The founders of Ahepa, on the contrary, believe that use of English in its meetings was justifiable, since the United States had become their permanent home. The meetings afforded them the opportunity to use English, strengthen their knowledge of it, and help to adjust themselves to their surroundings.
In a report of that year, Supreme President V. I. Chebithes had this to say:
During this year (1926) the Order of Ahepa has gone through a period of opposition and bitter strife. It began with an attack being made on it by the Hellenic press in America, accusing it of being Anti-Hellenic. The sentiment trickled into and made itself felt in the Hellenic Church and a great deal of the disturbing influence slipped into the Chapters and spread among the membership. The loyal members stood by the Order, fought back the attacks and, in spite of all opposition the Order progressed, not only in strength of members, chapters and money, but also in favor and usefulness. It extended its aid to the Florida hurricane victims, and to the Mississippi flood victims, used its influence for securing a substantial loan to Greece from the United States, and manifested its patriotic and philanthropic character in many other ways.
Emotions and blind fury sometimes invokes greater disaster to the person so obsessed than to the objects of the attacks. The leadership of Ahepa, both at the national and chapter levels, ignored in great part, these attacks, and worked towards their objectives, and succeeded in avoiding dissension within their own ranks. Those who agreed with Ahepa's critics, dropped their membership, and some others, who could not withstand the abuse aimed at the fraternity and its members, also dropped their membership, even though they felt the objectives of the Ahepa were in the best interests of all Americans of Greek descent.
But, as Supreme President Chebithes pointed out, the Order continued to grow and prosper, in spite of the charges hurled against it.
Fortunately for the young association, its Founders moulded its objectives into an unassailable platform of self-evident truths and declarations, which no impartial judge could deny as being principles and objectives of the highest morality, the greatest good for all men, and deep-rooted enough to withstand both time and attack.
Ahepa's critics accused the association "of disassociating itself from the Greek church." Yet, the record shows that from its very inception and beginnings, Ahepa and its local chapters not only supported the church, and all churches, but was responsible throughout its 50 year history of being the prime factor in building more Greek churches than any other organization, in all parts of the United States.
Yes, Ahepa is non-sectarian, in that it does not require that its members belong to the Greek Orthodox Church. A member of Ahepa may be Catholic, Protestant. Neither did Ahepa require that its members be of Greek descent, but only that they be "of good moral character." In reviewing the capsule record of activities of Ahepa Chapters throughout this book, the reader will find scattered everywhere the financial assistance that the Ahepa has given to churches throughout every State of the Union. Ahepa did not disassociate itself from any Church -- Ahepa only stated that there was no restriction in its membership, and that Ahepa was an independent association, standing on its own, with no administrative ties to any Church.
The reasons for Ahepa being "non-sectarian" are obvious to the student of the history of the Greek immigrant in the United States during and immediately following World War I. Political conditions in Greece evolved into a struggle for power between factions supporting either Eleutherios Venizelos or King Constantine. This power struggle immediately manifested itself in the Greek communities in the United States, and into the Greek Churches here. Greek Church communities were split between ardent supporters of either side, and the bitter harangue that ensued did no credit to the immigrant, nor the Church. Practically all existing social organizations among the Greeks here in the United States found themselves embroiled in the same controversy, and between the Greek press, the organizations, and the Church, there were long months and years of charges and counter-charges, all of which amounted to a "tempest in a teapot." Because of their recent immigration to the United States, one can see some excuse for this intense interest in Greek matters of state and Greek politics, but it was a period of history that brought no credit to its participants here.
The Founders of Ahepa had lived through those bitter years, and they made sure that Ahepa would not also fall into those same pitfalls.
The Founders specified that Ahepa would be "non-political" both in regards to American politics and Greek politics. Ahepa Chapters were not to be aligned with any American political party, nor to support any political candidate -- neither were they to become involved with the politics of Greece.
However, despite the accusations of Ahepa's critics, there was no intent to deprive Ahepa from maintaining contact with the people of Greece, and one of Ahepa's tenets has always been to maintain the closest possible relationship between the people of the United States and the people of Greece.
A study of Ahepa's humanitarian, charitable and educational programs will amply testify to the extent of its efforts in assisting the needy among the people of Greece. These pages will go into some detail on the various programs that the Order of Ahepa has completed in this field.
Language is man's means of communication, and the Order of Ahepa's Founders knew full well that if the newly-arrived immigrant was to take his rightful place within his adopted nation and community, it could only he through easy communication with his new neighbors and business associates. It was deemed imperative that comparative fluency in the English language he attained, and since these memhers-to-be of Ahepa were past school age, and in businesses and jobs, it was intended that the Ahepa Chapter Room should serve as a schoolroom in learning the English language. The ability and desire to speak is almost a native inherency of the Greek, and conversation is almost a vice, in its excessive use. If the new American of Greek descent was to have easy communication with his native horn Americans, it could only he through the English language. All communication in the Ahepa Chapter Room had to be in English -- the Minutes of the meetings in English -- correspondence in English -- publications and magazines in English -- the secret ritual in English.
The net result was astonishing in the benefits to the members, and there is little doubt that Ahepa served its most useful purpose through this medium.
Still, as Ahepa insisted on the sole use of the English language in its proceedings and functions, the association gave full support and assistance to the enlargement and maintenance of local Greek schools where their sons and daughters learned the Greek language in afternoon classes. These Greek school classes started around 4 p.m., and lasted about two hours, three days a week. The classes were usually held in schoolrooms of the local Greek Orthodox Church, but in some cities where no Greek Orthodox Church building existed, the Ahepa Chapter donated the use of its lodge room for these classes. In smaller communities, Greek school teachers were volunteers, either businessmen who had had training in teaching in Greece, or housewives, who had achieved higher education in Greece.
To accuse Ahepa of "downgrading the Greek school" -- as was charged by Ahepa's critics -- is quite evidently ridiculous, for the record of Ahepa has been quite the opposite. The association has been a vigorous supporter of the teaching of the Greek language to the younger generation, where such teaching is necessary.
Practically all members of the Order of Ahepa during its early years were businessmen, owners of restaurants, diners, candy stores, fruit stores, flower stores, or, employees in these types of businesses. Their greatest asset would prove to he fluency in English, in speaking, reading, and writing. The Order of Ahepa provided for them a practical school, by forcing them to use the language they needed most in their businesses, resulting in removal of some of the rough edges of their "broken English."
Two meetings a month, of two or three hours duration, was not a rapid course in English, but over the years Ahepa meetings proved a valuable asset to its members in this respect. The mere recitation of the Ahepa ritual, in correct and precise English, aided in a better pronounciation and easier fluency with English words, which are so entirely different than the native Greek tongue.
As an added benefit to its members, membership in the Ahepa meant an active position in the civic life of the community, and active participation in its affairs. The Ahepa joined the family of civic associations, and gradually brought its members into closer contact with all phases of community life and its so-called leaders.
Instead of being a segregated group within a community, the American of Greek descent was forced by the Ahepa into immediate contact with his fellow-citizens, and this contact gave him the feeling of belonging to and being a part of his city or town. Inasmuch as the Ahepan was probably now married, with very young children, he was assured that his family also would become a part of the city's social and economic life.
© Copyright Order of AHEPA
George J. Leber's book is copyright protected. However, any portions of this book may be quoted at length, provided that proper credit & acknowledgement is given to the book, author, publisher, and pages.
Leber, George J. History of the Order of AHEPA 1922 - 1972. Washigton DC, Order of AHEPA, 1972.