The New Ethnicity movement was one of the many social protest movements that arose in the conflicted 1960s and early 1970s in the U.S. Its leading advocates—Michael Novak, Geno Baroni, and Andrew Greeley—argued powerfully against the derogatory characterization of urban Americans of Polish, Italian, Greek, and East and Central European ancestry in connection with the burning issues of the day, most notably civil rights and the Vietnam War. They urged the Democratic Party to pay more attention to white ethnic Americans’ concerns, especially those involving the well-being of their neighborhood communities. And they called on all Americans to learn more about the cultures and traditions of the “new ethnics.” In its efforts, the movement met with little success. Indeed, by the early 1980s, many “new” or “white ethnic” American voters had transferred their support to Republican Party candidates. The response of Polish Americans to the movement is also discussed in this paper, with attention to their receptivity to the New Ethnicity’s rejection of the “melting-pot” idea of American society in favor of the “cultural pluralism” thesis. Cultural pluralism emphasizes ethnicity’s enduring significance in appreciating the diversity of American life. The author argues that this view continues to animate the activities of members of many Polish American organizations, including PAHA.

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