Immigrants who settled in Globeville from the 1880s to the 1920s were mostly farmers from Eastern Europe and Russia with little education, few urban skills and no knowledge of the English language. Working in the smelters, railroads and meat packing plants made newcomers realize that better jobs and a better life came to those who could speak English and were American citizens.To become an American citizen a person had to be of "good moral character, have the ability to read, write, speak, and understand English, and have knowledge of the fundamentals of U.S. history and government," (also required today).
The first step was the easiest since the immigrant's sponsor (perhaps Maximilian Malich or John Wolf) would vouch for his "good moral character." But how could anyone learn to read and write English while working 12 hour days, six days a week? Schools, lodges and some churches came to the rescue. Principal Matthew Eagleton instituted night classes in English at Garden Place School, the "Slavonian" Lodge, St. Jacob's Croatian Society also held English-language lessons for members, and (after 1916) Denver's Opportunity School. As children learned English in school, they taught their parents, and, by the 1920s, there were radio programs, movies at Globeville's Cozy Theatre and baseball. Once the language was mastered, the study of U.S. history and government could be tackled with the aid of pamphlets containing the questions likely to be asked, such as ""Name the original 13 colonies, How can the president prevent a bill from becoming a law? What is the term of office of a U.S. Representative?" (The Questionnaire shown below was prepared for a Volga-German congregation in Nebraska during the 1900s).
Today's immigrants face the same challenges: a new language, different culture, unfamiliar customs, separation from family and little time to learn English and the fundamentals of U.S. history. There are classes nearby at El Centro San Juan Diego, Trevista Elementary School, Emily Griffith Opportunity School and Holy Rosary Parish Center.
Clases de Ingles: Las Clases de Inglés reinician el día lunes 14 de enero de 10:00 a.m a 12:00 p.m. en el Centro Parroquial. ¡Te esperamos!Holy Rosary Church
Emily Griffith Opportunity School
Used with written permission from John Werner
English learner at Holy Rosary Parish Center
ESL class at Holy Rosary