4515 Willard Ave. #2210
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
eniko.basa at verizon dot net
Wed, 14 Oct 2015 18:59:32 EDT by webmaster, 24124 views
Cultural Studies paper by Veizer, Keith (all papers)
VeizerVizerWieserWiezer: The Granite City-Kompolt Connection
My presentation will be based on a book I published in April 2015 with the above title. In the early 1900s my grandparents and many others from Kompolt and Hevesmegye came to a neighborhood in Granite City, Illinois--then called Hungary Hollow, now known as Lincoln Place--to work in newly established factories there. Three of my father’s siblings were born in Hungary; he and five others were born in the United States. For more than two generations there was a vibrant Hungarian-American community in Lincoln Place. Its Magyarhaz, constructed in 1926 and still used by the Mexican Honorary Commission, was a center for many cultural events: dances, plays, weddings, and performances by the Hungarian-American Band. It was also used by the other ethnic communities in the neighborhood: Armenians, Bulgarians, Macedonians, and Mexicans.
I spent a good deal of my childhood listening to stories about the community from my father, who was in 1937 the first ethnic citizen elected to the city’s Board of Aldermen. The first section of the book is a memoir of my father’s family and an account of the early years of the community based on my father’s stories, interviews of Lincoln Place residents conducted by members of an oral history class from SIU-Edwardsville, and wide-ranging research.
The second section of the book recounts my three visits to Kompolt--from 2003 when I found several relatives with whom I have stayed in contact, to 2014 when I studied Hungarian at the Balassi Institute in Budapest for a month before returning to the village. Each visit yielded more information about those who emigrated, those who remained in Kompolt, and those who returned to Kompolt from Granite City. In September the last two years, I have set up a booth at the Lincoln Place Heritage Festival where I share my research with descendants of the original families from Kompolt and others.
Brief Professional Bio:
Keith Veizer taught literature, composition and creative writing for forty years in the colleges and secondary schools of New Orleans and am now retired. I received a BA in English from the University of Illinois in 1965, an MA in English from the University of Virginia in 1967, and an MFA in Fiction from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1983. Over the years I have published eight short stories and one poem in literary magazines and journals.