The Polish Americans
As seen on Public Television, this PSB Special applauds the spirit, determination and solidarity of an immigrant success story like no other. Using vintage film footage, family photos, personal recollections and experiences, this documentary special embodies Polish pride in a televised "family album" of the Polish-American experience. Singer Bobby Vinton, actor Stefanie Powers, former U.S. National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), author Suzanne Strempek Shea and others share their stories in this tribute to Polish Americans. Actor Casey Siemaszko narrates.
In America, families gave the cultural identity of a divided homeland new life. THE POLISH AMERICANS takes viewers to the little Polska across the United States, from New York City and Schenectady to Cleveland and Chicago, where parents instill in their children the virtues and values of their native land and a love of its traditions, like the pierogi so many mothers filled and pinched just right.
While strongly American and part of the larger culture, Polish Americans maintained a desire to keep their heritage alive with rewarding results. As a Harvard student, Brzezinski, decided to make a name for himself "in spite of" his difficult Polish name. Vinton tells how he revived his recording career with "Melody of Love," a song whose lyrics came from a Polish term of endearment his mother used. Powers describes her greatest thrill as the "privilege" of leading New York City's Pulaski Day Parade as 1995's Grand Marshall. And Mikulski embodied the "norms" of excellence she was raised to achieve when she became the first woman elected to a U.S. Senate seat in her own right. THE POLISH AMERICANS celebrates these proud achievements and the ultimate expression of cultural and religious pride with election of a Polish Pope.
A Co-Production of WLIW New York, WMHT17 Schenectady, and WVIZ25 Cleveland, 1998
Running time approx. 90 minutes, Color
Format: NTSC, Region 1 (USA & Canada)