Magazine created by students of the Department of English and American Studies at Masaryk University.

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Texas Czechs

Aggie for a Year: Yet Another Letter from Texas

in Current Issue/Other

By Tereza Walsbergerová

Me and my CEFT guardian angel Lynette in front of the Kyle Field football stadium before my very first Aggie football game.

 

Dear reader,

I thought that since this is supposed to be a letter, I would treat it as one and address y’all properly. I have only been in College Station for a couple of months and it feels like I have been here for years. Yet – even though I have been burned by the Texan sun, soaked through by the Texan rain, licked by Texan dogs, fed Texan kolaches, and learned Texan slang… I do not believe I will ever stop feeling strange about being on a different continent, almost 9.000 kilometers away from Brno. Let me start from the beginning, though; who am I and what am I doing in Texas? My name is Tereza and I am currently in the PhD program (Literatures in English) at the Department of English and American Studies, MUNI. I have been given the opportunity to relocate to Texas for a year and attend the MA in English program at Texas A&M through the William J. Hlavinka Fellowship at Texas A&M University in order to experience American culture and interact with the local Czech Texan community.

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Czech-Moravian Heritage in Texas

in Views

By Clinton Machann

Before retiring as a professor of English at Texas A&M University in 2017, my principal academic interest was in the field of nineteenth-century British literature and culture, but my interest in the history of Czech – primarily Moravian – immigration to Texas and the Czech-Moravian community there is longstanding. It goes back to the days of my professional training in English literary studies. In fact, I had just completed my PhD in English at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1970s when I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to visit what was then Communist Czechoslovakia. Although unimpressed with Communist ideology and institutions in my journeys to the “old country” in 1976 and 1977, I did become fascinated by the possibility of studying the origins of the Czech-Moravian heritage of Texas, and I organized a symposium that was held in Temple, Texas in 1976. Temple is, among other things, the home of the Texas Czech fraternal organization SPJST (Slovanská podporující jednota státu Texas). Included in the symposium papers that were collected and published in 1979 was Robert Janak’s groundbreaking “Tombstone Inscriptions as a Source of Geographic Origins,” (1) which led to his own expanded work on that topic and which serves as one of the sources for Eva Eckert’s Stones on the Prairie: Acculturation in America (2). Also included were other essays which are related to the study of Czech-Moravian heritage in Texas: Rev. Alois J. Morkovsky, “The Church and the Czechs in Texas,” and Richard Michalek, “The Ambivalence of Ethnoreligion.” Another symposium relevant to the preservation of Czech-Moravian culture in Texas was entitled “Czech Music in Texas: A Sesquicentennial Symposium” (1986) and once again there was a published collection of papers, including one by Josef Škvorecký (3).

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