Greek American Heritage Month: Honoring the Contributions of Greek Americans to American Society

March is Greek American Heritage Month, which is a time to celebrate and honor the contributions of Greek Americans to American society. Greek Americans have made significant contributions to fields such as science, medicine, law, business, politics and entertainment, among others.

Greek American History

Greek people started coming to the United States in significant numbers in the 20th century, with the first large wave of people coming over between 1900 and 1924.

Between 1890 and 1921 421,000 Greeks came to the U.S. Most of these immigrants came from rural areas of Greece and were seeking economic opportunities in the U.S. They settled primarily in urban areas, such as New York City, Chicago and Detroit, and worked in factories, mines and other blue-collar jobs.

A second, smaller wave of Greeks came to the U.S. between 1965 and 1980 as a result of ethic quotas being removed by the Hart-Heller Act. Approximately 200,000 Greeks came to the U.S. during that time. There hasn’t been another wave of people coming to the U.S. from Greece since the 1980s due to an improvement in economic conditions that came with Greece being admitted into the European Union.

According to the Hellenic American Project, there could be another wave of immigration from Greece to the U.S. due to “the economic crisis in the beginning of the 21st century, which is evident in countries of the European Union.”

According to the Greek Reporter, there are over 3 million Greek Americans in the U.S. today, and that number is made up of mostly third or fourth generation immigrants. The U.S. has the largest population of people of Greek decent outside of Greece.

Greek Americans Making a Difference

Today, Greek Americans continue to make significant contributions to American society in a variety of fields, including business, politics, academia and the arts.

Here are a few Greek Americans who have made significant contributions to society:

Michael Dukakis: Dukakis was a Democratic politician who served as the governor of Massachusetts from 1975 to 1979 and from 1983 to 1991. In 1988, he was the Democratic nominee for president but lost to George H.W. Bush. He was the first Greek American to be a major-party nominee for president.

Arianna Huffington: Huffington is the co-founder of The Huffington Post, a popular news website. She was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2011.

Tina Fey: Fey is an actress, writer and comedian who is best known for her work on ‘Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock.” She has won numerous awards for her comedic performances, including multiple Emmys.

George Stephanopoulos: Stephanopoulos is a political commentator and journalist who has worked for ABC News since 1997. He was a senior advisor to President Bill Clinton and played a key role in his 1992 presidential campaign.

Dean Kamen: Kamen is an inventor and entrepreneur who is best known for inventing the Segway personal transporter. He has received numerous awards for his inventions and contributions to science and technology.


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