The founding members were Nicolae Cican, Spiru Cican, Nasta Cican, Dina Cican, Dimitrie St. Carabina, Hrista L. Carabina, and Ilie Culetsu. As membership increased, branches were formed in all areas where groups of our people had settled, such as New York, St. Louis, San Francisco, Bridgeport, Woonsocket, North Grosvenordale, Central Falls, and elsewhere. In 1909 the Society was formally incorporated in the State of New York.
The scope of the Society was to aid our unfortunates: the poor, the widowed, and the invalid left behind in the old country. Since that time, however, as ties with Europe grew weaker, the Society has come more and more to focus on the need for cultural preservation, in the American community as well as in those communities across the Atlantic. Along the lines of these cultural goals, the Society in its first fifty years contributed substantial sums for the founding of churches for Macedo-Romanians (Aromanians) in Woonsocket, New York, Bridgeport, Southbridge, and Worcester as well as aiding schools, churches, and others in Korytsa (Albania), Frashari (Romania), Pleasa (Albania), and Neveska (Greece).
In 1942, a huge membership drive was initiated to replace the host of Active members due to pass into Mature status (after 30 years of dues-paying membership) in 1943. This campaign was so successful that the number of members was increased to almost 300 within the next ten years. The Society’s Fiftieth Anniversary celebration was held in New York’s Biltmore Hotel on September 6, 1953; it was a spectacular event, well-attended especially by the new recruits. These men and women were from the first American-born generation, and they have been the prime supporters of the Society ever since.
In the years since then, the Society has continued its role as the focal point of our cultural activities together, in three ways: by holding dances every so often, by donating funds for various cultural preservation efforts, and especially by paying scholarships to the youth of our community who wish to continue their education. The flame has been kept alive, even though no large-scale membership drives have occurred in these last 30 years. Without the support of a new group of members, however, the Society’s activities have inevitably slowed down somewhat.
The second American-born generation, though more numerous than prior generations, has spread still further away from the nucleus of the community here in the Northeast, and is naturally more Americanized; many of us do not know as much of the language, customs, values, and other cultural traits as our predecessors knew — we have intermarried, changed our names and occasionally our religious beliefs. Yet we retain a lot more of our culture than we sometimes realize, and that is always an enriching factor in our lives. For this reason, some of us have become active in the Society and we are now initiating another large-scale membership drive, so that we may do our part in seeing that our culture and community continues as long as possible. We have obtained a computer for record maintenance, we are renovating the Society’s small office and archives in Bridgeport, and we have scheduled a dance featuring ethnic music to be held on May 23, 1987. We are sending out this Newsletter, which we hope to expand and to issue at least twice a year. Our longer-range plans include the establishment of a central library, a photo archive, and a modest museum. We also anticipate commissioning research into our culture, genealogy, and history. Sources are being secured so that books, cassettes, records, and other items relevant to the Macedo-Romanians (Aromanians) will be available to our members and to the public.
The success of our efforts will be measured to a great extent by the response we get from you, our members, and from our youth. I think that the following lines, taken from the program of the Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration, represent the feelings of our forefathers about future generations:
“To us, this society has served as an institute that is humane and patriotic in character. We revere its past and we treasure it . . . we expect no less from our youth, and we will not be satisfied until all are members of this society.
“It is not without optimism and conviction that we give them the reins to carry on. The time has come for them to lead. Their place is in the sun, and we shall gladly go along with them . . . With respect to the older members for their great achievements, we look forward to an aggressive and progressive administration to be carried out by our youthful members; it will be just as praiseworthy, if not more so.”
It is with our youth in mind that we implemented our scholarship program. Any member attending an accredited undergraduate college program on a full time basis is eligible to apply for a merit or need scholarship. We hope this will encourage young people of Macedo-Romanian background to join our organization. We seek your support in expanding our membership and have taken the liberty of enclosing a membership application with this newsletter. If you know anyone who might want to become a member of the Society, encourage them to execute a membership application, sign your name as a sponsor at the bottom of the form and return it to us at P.O. Box 1660, Bridgeport, CT 06601.
SATURDAY, MAY 23, 1987 – 84TH ANNIVERSARY DANCE FEATURING THE TOM YALANIS ORCHESTRA. AT THE TONNA CENTER, BRIDGEPORT 8:00 P.M. TO 12:00 MIDNIGHT. BRING YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.