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Old 02-06-2010, 07:08 PM
 
160 posts, read 287,490 times
Reputation: 192

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First of all, a disclaimer: I am a transplanted New Yorker of partial Italian descent (I don't claim the French part ). While performing some research on Italian emigration to the US, I was surprised to learn that Birmingham was one of the first areas of the country that Italians emigrated to, even before NY via Ellis Island (which is where my great grandparents had to come through). I have since learned of the history of Italians here, how there used to be a section consisting almost exclusively of Italians near downtown, the Bruno family, etc.

My question is why are there not more outward displays of the Italian heritage that helped this city become what it is? There aren't any Italian festivals or clubs that I've been able to find, and Italian isn't even offered in the schools as a language choice.

I know times change, and people become assimilated to their surroundings, but I would have expected more Italian influence to be noticeable throughout the city after reading of the Italian history here.

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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All I can say is I don't know. I know quite a few people of Italian decent but they don't seem to be very focused on their heritage. There's a good number of Italian restaurants but I don't know of any clubs or festivals. There are also a lot of Birminghamians of Greek and Lebanese decent. There are Greek and Lebanese food festivals every year. I know of one Lebanese club, a Maronite Catholic Church and a Greek Orthodox church.
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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One of the first places would be your answer to your own question. Typically, unless there is a sustained immigration from the home country, immigrant groups in the US do remarkably well at integrating.
I personally don't see why Italian should be offered at public schools for the students. It's hardly one of the most useful.
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
5,680 posts, read 11,461,005 times
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Kind of OT, but does anyone remember the original Romeo's restaurant on 5th or 6th (I think) Ave S near UAB? What a fantastic little den of authenticity! Cash-only type of place. The story was, diners would bring a bottle of wine to give to Mama Romeo; the more she drank, the better the food got! Still haven't found better lasagne.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:23 AM
 
23,718 posts, read 10,064,184 times
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OP may have missed two corporate bankruptcies of the Bruno family and a personal tragedy when almost a generation did not survive a plane crash a couple of years ago. What used to be Bruno's Classic for the golfing community is now Regions' Classic at a different course.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:52 AM
 
28,896 posts, read 53,855,264 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UpstateBooster View Post
Kind of OT, but does anyone remember the original Romeo's restaurant on 5th or 6th (I think) Ave S near UAB? What a fantastic little den of authenticity! Cash-only type of place. The story was, diners would bring a bottle of wine to give to Mama Romeo; the more she drank, the better the food got! Still haven't found better lasagne.
I loved that place. We caught it at the tail end. I think they put an Arby's there. What a waste.
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Pelham
43 posts, read 107,144 times
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There use to be something in town called the Roma Club. I went to many an Italian wedding reception there. I know they had a building and pool in the West Homewood area. But they tore it down a long time ago and put in subdivision back there.
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Floribama
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That was so long ago, I'm sure they have all intermarried with the Scots-Irish since then.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:24 PM
 
6 posts, read 20,246 times
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The northeastern section Ensley was once called "Little Italy" and was home to numerous corner markets operated by Italian Immigrants. St Joseph's Catholic Church is located there.

I guess Italians simply dispersed out all over the metro as Ensley began it's decline in the 60's and 70's.

There is an Italian Benevolent Society Plot at Oak Hill Cemetery dedicated entirely to descendants of Birmingham Italian families.
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Old 02-18-2010, 02:50 PM
 
1 posts, read 8,357 times
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It's funny that you should mention Mama Romeo's, it was my great grandmother's restaurant.
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