As we bid farewell to 2016 I wanted to take a look back at all the wonderful things that have been accomplished this year through the heritage and history development of the club and give a final reflection.
The development of this website has been a great success for the club and for me personally. I am more than blessed to be able to study professionally the migration of Maltese to North America. It has a huge impact on my life. My great-grandfather, Emmanuel Muliett (left), was one of the first Maltese to come to Detroit in 1920. He worked his whole life as an electrician with General Motors, raised a family, and lived out his days in the metro-area. Through my dissertation research I have come to know my great-grandfather in a way I could have NEVER done without doing the type of archival research I have done.
But what gives meaning to the statistics, the census records, the union logs, are the oral histories of my grandmother, my aunt, and others who knew him. I felt the pain he must have felt when I realized that my great-grandfather never once returned to Malta. He never again saw his parents after age 21. The sacrifices he made were not terribly unique. So many people in our community made similar decisions. But to me, they help explain my own family history as part of a community history.
I am so proud to not only be Maltese but to be researching the story of Maltese migration to North America. The people I have met, and the stories uncovered have been priceless. I sincerely hope that future generations of Maltese-Americans and Maltese-Canadians appreciate our collective past.
Beyond the excellence of retaining our heritage, this website has also served to bring the Maltese American Benevolent Society into the modern age. Not only can you find all of our upcoming events in one spot, but you can read about our history, the current executive board, and even pay your dues online! Revolutionary, eh?
This blog itself we hope will continue to be a sounding board where community members have an opportunity to express themselves, much like what Cecila Said and Rachael Cini were able to contribute in discussing their scholarship experience. The future will see even more development of the digital aspect of the club. There are so many excellent opportunities that having a digital presence affords us.
Looking forward to 2017 we hope that you continue to enjoy this website and all of the programs the club continues to bring you. Next year will see us develop the website further, host heritage events, connect with the community, and other creative ideas.
We also hope you consider contributing your story to our heritage department at some point during the new year. Perhaps your New Year’s resolution can be to share your story with us!
From all of us here at the Maltese American Benevolent Society, we wish you nothing but joy and good health in the New Year!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Marc Sanko is a 4th year PhD candidate studying 20th Century Immigration and Ethnic History at West Virginia University. Mr. Sanko was born and raised in Farmington, Michigan and has been involved with the Maltese American Benevolent Society in developing this website and other heritage based activities and events. He aims to teach US and Canadian history at the college level after graduation.