Slavic fest to honor Polish soldiers who served in America's Civil War
SHAMOKIN - Vincent Chesney will host the fifth annual Slavic performing arts heritage festival at 5 p.m. Monday in the auditorium in Luzerne County Community College's Northumberland Center at Arch and Eighth streets.
This year's event is titled "Friends Like Eagles: Polish Officers in America's Civil War." It honors the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. As in previous years, Chesney offers this event free and open to the public.
Scheduled to speak at this year's event is Dr. James Pula, an award-winning author of more than 15 books. Pula is a professor of history at Purdue University North Central. He will speak about Brigadier General WÅodzimierz Krzyanowski, who commanded the 58th New York Volunteer Infantry, known as the "Polish Legion" for its high percentage of immigrant soldiers.
Dennis Kubicki, who holds multiple master's degrees in management, is also scheduled to speak at the event. Kubicki is a military reenactor from Frederick, Md., with three decades experience. He will portray a soldier from Confederate Colonel Valery Sulakowski's 14th Louisiana Infantry, which was nicknamed the "1st Polish Brigade."
Both infantries fought at Gettysburg, among other famous battles. Both men, born into Polish nobility, were prominent in American politics after the war.
Reproductions of each infantry's battle flags will be on display at the event. Ethnic food as well as Civil War era food will also be available. Books and souvenirs will also be available.
Krzyanowski took part in Poland's unsuccessful 1848 uprising against Prussia prior to answering Lincoln's call for volunteers by coming to America with a group of Polish soldiers.
Some may consider these Polish officers to be war hawks while others may see them as eagles for liberty and justice. Sulakowski followed a similar path to America. He sided with suppressed Hungarian forces in the 1848 failed uprising against Austria in a year when Europe was in turmoil.
An adjunct instructor at Luzerne County Community College, Chesney created this event to illustrate the rich history and ethnic diversity of the area as well as connect subjects that students are learning to real life context. Each year the event allows the college and community to share in an entertaining and educational experience.