“An Introduction to Armenian Culture, History, and the Armenian Genocide” is the topic for the June 11 Speaker Series program from the Madison County Historical Society (MCHS).
Historian Norma Asadorian, whose Armenian grandparents immigrated to Granite City, Illinois, will introduce the to Armenian culture and the Armenian genocide. The program will begin at 2 p.m. at the Main Street Community Center at 1003 N. Main Street in Edwardsville, Illinois. The program is free and open to the public.
Armenians, and other immigrants who settled in Granite City’s Lincoln Place neighborhood, played an important role in the development of the planned community. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Granite City was established by the immigrant industrialist brothers Fredrick and William Niedringhaus across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Granite City began as an industrial town producing graniteware household items and industrial steel. It was connected to other parts of the country by several railroad lines. The need for large amounts of cheap factory labor attracted thousands of immigrants, including Hungarians, Macedonians, Mexicans, and Armenians, among many others.
Known to historians as “The First Genocide of the Twentieth Century,” the Armenian Genocide is a significant event in modern Armenian history and continues to influence foreign relations with the Republic of Armenia and the lives and shared memories of Armenians and their descendants around the globe. This is what prompted the immigration of many early Granite City Armenians.
Norma Asadorian earned a BA degree from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she double majored in History and in Russian and East European Studies. Subsequently, she attended SIUE where she obtained a BS degree in Education with a major in History and later an MA in History. Before her retirement in 2012, Asadorian was an award-winning secondary school teacher for 37 years. She is the and President of the Lincoln Place Heritage Association, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the historical and cultural heritage of Granite City’ historic Lincoln Place neighborhood.
This program is the third of four offered annually by the Madison County Historical Society. All Speaker Series programs are free and open to the public. MCHS is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that owns and operates the Madison County History Museum and Archival Library at 801 N. Main Street, Edwardsville, Illinois. For additional information visit the MCHS website at https://madcohistory.org/ or call 618-656-1294.