Frank Vlasak and Prague, Oklahoma

            The paper, "Frank Vlasak and the Beginnings of Prague, Oklahoma", tells how Vlasak becomes an influential leader in the town of Prague, while never losing his identity or influence within his ethnic community. He had influence and authority in his ethnic group and recognized that the Czech community was not the lowest ethnic group on the totem pole. He never isolated himself from the non-Czech community.

             Frank Vlasak was an important part of the Czech community well before the establishment of Prague. He owned a store in Dent, a small town with a large population of Czechs. Vlasak sold important supplies to his fellow immigrants and provided low interest loans to those in need. He was a successful leader within the Czech community, so much so that the towns people nicknamed him "Squire". The fact that Vlasak was regarded highly within by his fellow Czechs before the establishment of Prague made it easier for him to become a leader the new town.

             Slive's paper states that in many communities where there was a population of Eastern Europeans, discrimination would become a way of life for them. Because of this, Eastern Europeans often isolated themselves from non-immigrants as a way of coping with discrimination. Slive demonstrates that the Czechs of Prague were able to avoid discrimination due to the presence of African American's who bore even more disrespect. Slive also states that because the Czech's isolated themselves, the American citizens in Prague were forced to accept them because they were needed for hard labor - leading to the overall growth and financial stabilty of the town.

             Vlasak created leadership roles in both ethnic groups in his community. He was a leader of the Bohemian Hall, the main gathering place of the Czech community. At the same time, he was on the city council and the public school board. Slive mentions that the small wood framed school was not big enough to meet the community's needs so Vlasak brokered a deal where the large Bohemian Hall could be used as a temporary public school.

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