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Serbian Americans (Serbian: Srpski Amerikanci, Српски Американци)) are citizens of the United States who are of Serbian ancestry. As of 2010, there are 187,739 American citizens of Serb descent. Those can include Serbian Americans living in the United States for one or several generations, dual Serbian American citizens, or any other Serbian Americans who consider themselves to be affiliated to both cultures or countries. Some Serbian Americans might be born in Serbia, the United States or other countries with an ethnic Serb population.
Some Serbians living in the United States are naturalized American citizens, while others hold dual American-Serbian citizenship. Some have ancestors who immigrated to the United States several generations prior; some of these people refer to themselves as simply American, Serbian, Serbians living in the United States, or American Serbians.
One of the first Serbian immigrants to the United States was the settler George Fisher, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1815 and later fought in the Texan Revolution. In the 1830s, many Serb sailors and fishermen from Montenegro and Herzegovina immigrated to New Orleans seeking employment. Other Serbs settled in Alabama and Mississippi, as well as California, where they joined the Gold Rush. Serb immigrants first came in significant numbers to the United States in the late 1800s from areas of the Balkans. During this time, most Serb immigrants to the United States settled in mid-western industrial cities or in California, which had a climate similar to that of the Dalmatian coast. Serbian men often found employment in mines, and numerous Serb families moved to mining towns throughout the country. In 1943, many Serbian American miners were killed in the Smith Mine disaster in Montana. The number of Serbs that immigrated to the United States prior to World War II is difficult to determine as Serbian immigrants were often variously classified as Turks, Bulgarians, Croats, Slovenes, Montenegrins, Dalmatians, Bosnians, Herzegovinians and Austro-Hungarians.
During World War I, as many as 15,000 Serbian American volunteers returned to the Balkans to fight for the Allied cause in their homeland. Serbs in the United States who did not volunteer to fight marched for the creation of Yugoslavia, sent aid to the Balkans through the Red Cross, formed a Serbian Relief Committee, and urged notable Americans to support the Serbian cause. Distinguished Serbian American scientist Mihailo Pupin, a friend of US President Woodrow Wilson, led the Serbian National Defence (SND), a Serbian American organization which collected money and attempted to influence American public opinion with regard to the Balkans.
After World War II many Serbs immigrated to the United States from Yugoslavia after the country came under the authoritarian rule of Communist leader Josip Broz Tito. Since then, many Serbian American cultural and religious organizations have been formed in the United States. With the fall of Communism and the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Serbs in the United States have established several interests groups, the most organized of which is the Serbian Unity Congress (SUC).
Officially there were 187,739 Serbs living in the United States in 2010. However, this number may be much higher as there are some 328,547 people who identify as Yugoslavs living in the United States, majority of whom are Serbs. Major centers of Serbian settlement in the United States include Chicago, Illinois; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and San Francisco and Los Angeles in the state of California.
Prominent Serbian Americans
Notable Serbian Americans among others include recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor such as Great War veterans Jake Allex, Louis Cukela, and James I. Mestrovitch. In 1905, Rade Grbitch, a Serb from South Chicago, was awarded the Medal of Honor by the United States Navy for heroic action on the Pacific Coast (Interim Awards, 1901-1911). The most decorated Serbian veterans of World War II were Mitchell Paige and John W. Minick, both recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and George Musulin, an officer of the Office of Strategic Services and naval intelligence, better known for Operation Halyard. In Vietnam, the tragic name of Lance Sijan, another Congressional Medal of Honor recipient (posthumous) is always mentioned. Butch Verich, Mele "Mel" Vojvodich, a major-general with great reputation and many decorations, Milo Radulovich are just a few of a long list of military veterans. George Fisher was a 19th-century Serbian American settler who played an important role in the Texan Revolution.
Rose Ann Vuich was the first female member of the California State Senate. Helen Delich Bentley is a former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the State of Maryland (1985–95). The port of Baltimore was named Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore after her in 2006. Many notable Serbian American come from the field of film and generally art, such as - Brad Dexter and Peter Bogdanovich. Steve Tesich was an Oscar-winning screenwriter, playwright and novelist. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1979 for the movie Breaking Away. Predrag Bjelac is mostly known for his roles in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Catherine Oxenberg should also be mentioned among actors, she is a daughter of Princess Jelisaveta Karađorđević, from Karađorđević Dynasty. Charles Simic and Dejan Stojanovic are the finest among poets. Walt Bogdanich (1950) is an investigative journalist. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Specialized Reporting in 1985, the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2005 and the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2008. Bogdanich led the team that won the 2008 Gerald Loeb Award for their story "Toxic pipeline". Branko Mikasinovich is a scholar of literature as well as a noted Slavist and journalist. He has appeared as a panelist on Yugoslav press on ABC's "Press International" in Chicago and PBS's "International Dateline" in New Orleans. Alex N. Dragnich is the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award for distinguished service to Vanderbilt University, and he is author of numerous books on Serbian/Yugoslav history. Nikola Tesla and Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin are the world-known scientists. Another accomplished Serbian-American scientist, Miodrag Radulovački, was named the 2010 Inventor of the Year at the University of Illinois for producing a dozen potential therapies for sleep apnea. Pete Maravich (1947–1988) is listed among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Sacha Kljestan is American football player, Alisa Marić holds the FIDE titles of Woman Grandmaster and International Master. Vladimir Mr.V Djordjevic is founder and chief instructor of Odbrana, tactical defense system.
Famous Serbian Americans
- Boris Bandov, soccer player
- Bane Bojanić, singer
- Goran Suton, soccer player
- Siniša Ubiparipović, soccer player
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- Serb is Inventor of the Year in Illinois, UIC OTM Announces 2010 Inventor of the Year
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