History is Human
Ferdinand Sukraw was born in the Kingdom of Prussia. By his 28th birthday, he found himself on a boat to the United States. After arriving in Baltimore, Maryland, he traveled to Saline County, Nebraska. In the following years, he became a U.S. citizen (naturalization certificate on the screen), took advantage of the Homestead Act and decided to make his home in Lincoln County, Nebraska. Ferdinand was my three-times great-grandfather.
Upon my own 28th year in Central Nebraska, my life would not have been possible if my ancestors had not all chosen to come to the United States. I am the product of immigration from Prussia (Germany), Sweden, England and Ireland.
My favorite historian, David McCullough said, History...is a larger way of looking at life. It is a source of strength, of inspiration. It is about who we are and what we stand for and is essential to our understanding of what our role should be in our time. History, as can’t be said too often, is human. It is about people and they speak to us across the years.
Multicultural Coalition wants all Grand Islanders to have the opportunity to experience the American Dream. In our work, we rejoice when people earn their citizenship. We weep when someone has an illness for which there is no remedy. We rally together when families are reunited after years of separation. I want my neighbors to remember we all came from somewhere else. It is what gives Grand Islanders their love of history, pride of ancestry and beloved Stuhr Museum, Liederkranz, Platt Duetsche, Stolley Park and more.
We all have a story behind us, filled with hard-work, desperation and success. I’m thankful that the Sukraw clan did not stray too far from their patriarch’s homestead. I’m also thankful Ann Sukraw met Kevin Lutz. That’s when my dad would have said, ȊTo make a short story even longer, it all started in 1982 with you: just a glimmer in your mother’s eye.
Grand Island has a foreign-born population greater than 16 percent. Over 25 percent of Grand Island’s households speak a language other than English. It is time for immigration to stop being a dirty word. It is time we start celebrating together. After all, Grand Island is the intersection of everywhere.
Please let the stories of our neighbors help you to see a larger way of looking at life. Let them give you strength and inspiration. Let them speak to us across the years.
(Photo Credit: Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Original Settlers of Grand Island)