PACB to Welcome Pol Am Historical Ass'n Board to Buffalo: James Pula Will Talk About Kosciuszko
The Polish Arts Club of Buffalo will welcome the Board of Directors of the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) and hear one of its well known members present a program on Kosciuszko at a special meeting Wed., May 15. The meeting will begin at 7 PM, half an hour earlier than usual, and it will be held at the Harlem Road Community Center, 4255 Harlem Road, Snyder. All members of the Pol-Am community, historians in the local academic communities, and the general public are strongly encouraged to attend.
PAHA is a world-wide organization of scholars who research the history of Poles in America and the Polish Arts Club is happy to have the opportunity to welcome them to Buffalo for their mid-year meeting.
PAHA board member James Pula will be the guest speaker. He is known throughout Polonia as the editor of the recently published Polish American Encyclopedia as well as for his numerous other contributions to the field of history and as a college professor. He will talk about Kosciuszko's return to America after the American Revolution, a topic that is included among his many research interests. As a matter of fact, he has authored a book, Thaddeus Kosciuszko: The Purest Son of Liberty, and his vita lists among his many publications a journal article entitled, “Tadeusz Kosciuszko: a Case Study in Constructed Historical Symbolism” and another, “The American Will of Thaddeus Kosciuszko”.
Dr. Pula says that Kosciuszko's will is often misconstrued. The notion that it funded a college for African-Americans in New Jersey is not true as a court over ruled his intention. Dr. Pula will talk about this issue in some detail Wednesday evening.
He will also discuss a secret diplomatic mission Kosciuszkoundertook for Thomas Jefferson in France. At the time, the US and France were fighting an undeclared naval war. French leaders thought that factionalism in the United States would provide them a good opportunity to press some claims against the new nation. Kosciuszko communicated to the French that the United States wanted to be friendly and that it was united in its desire for peace. But he also made clear that the United States would not tolerate interference in American commerce on the sea.
Dr. Pula earned his Ph.D. in American History from Purdue University in 1972. Since 2004 he has been a Professor of History at Purdue University North Central. Among the courses that he teaches are “The Revolutionary Era, 1763-1800”and “Ethnic and Immigration History” and he talks about Kosciuszko in both of them.
He is the editor of PAHA's journal, Polish American Studies, has edited about a dozen other books, and has had numerous articles published in professional journals. He was a consultant for a PBS documentary on Martha Stewart and another one on the life of Kosciuszko. He has received the Oscar Halecki award from PAHA several times for the most outstanding book published on Polish American history and culture during the previous year. Apparently, he has crossed paths with the Polish Arts Club of Buffalo in the past, having received an award from it in 1987 for “outstanding service”. His many professional memberships include the American Historical Association, Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences, Jozef Pilsudski Institute for the Study of the Modern History of Poland, and the Commission on Education of the Polish American Congress.
Dr. Pula's vita lists 9 books that he has authored. Included are a couple relating to the Polonia of his hometown, New York Mills, a suburb of Utica. Dr. Pula says that many of the people he knew there emigrated from the Galician mountain area of southern Poland. So when the Polish Arts Club asked him what song they should sing at Wednesday's meeting, he suggested “Goralu Czy Ci nie Zal” because it brings back fond memories of his youth. This song about a highlander leaving his beloved land for bread is perhaps the best loved song of Polish migration, rendering it appropriate for this month's meeting.
There will be a social hour with refreshments after the meeting so members of the audience will have a chance to talk to all the individual PAHA members, including Dr. Pula.
PACB Time Change
Please note that the Polish Arts Club of Buffalo meeting on Wednesday, May 15 will begin at 7:00 PM, half an hour earlier than usual.