Honoring the Mother Tongue: The Struggle to Establish and Maintain Czech Language Instruction from 1903-1919
From 1905-1907, Bohemian students, educators, business leaders and politicians battled to establish a Czech language program at the University of Nebraska. They fought against an administration that felt Czech had no place in the University as part of the modern language curriculum. A 1905 Board of Regents committee appointed to look into the matter found the University did not want to promote, " such racial and linguistic distinctions solely for their own sake."(Davis). They further asserted, “As a representative of Slavonic languages its study is of loss ad-vantage, philologically considered, than that of Russian; while from the point of view of literature its body of general and scientific thought is as yet comparatively negligible.” (Davis). The administration underestimated the passion the Bohemian-Americans felt for their mother tongue or the lengths they were will to go to in order to have Czech taught along side such academic staples as German, and French. By 1907 the Bohemian-Americans realized their goal at the University of Nebraska.