When I worked on my first book, Za to spasitelské moře. Emigrace Rožnovanů do Texasu (Across the Messianic Sea. The Emigration from Rožnov to Texas), it became clear to me that I would be unable to comprehend all the aspects of the event. First, I mainly consulted the archival material from Wallachia and then I used the scarce information available online to describe the experiences of the newly arrived emigrants after crossing the ocean. At that time, I started to think about a second volume that would complement the chapters regarding the lives of the Rožnov emigrants living in Texas. Thanks to my job as a visiting professor in Mexico, I was able to visit Czech Texas in 2014 to collect visual materials for my book. During this first visit, I realized I needed to publish a “second volume”, the result being the book the kind reader now holds in his/her hands.From then on, I visited Texas several more times, and it always struck me with the feeling of being home. Green, slightly undulating countryside is far different from the inherent central European imagination of Texas as being only a desert or part of the American wild west. The coastal plains favoured by the emigrants resemble more of the lowland Moravian scenery. The illusion is complete when one sees Czech footprints in many places. I saw road signs for communities such as Praha, Roznov, Frenstat, Hostyn, Vsetin, Moravia, Komensky and Novohrad so many times that only the automatic transmission of my car reminded6me I was not in the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, it is not only the similarity of topography that reminds one of Moravia. Quite the contrary, Texas is probably the only place in the world where someone does not receive dull looks when he says he is from Czech Republic. Everyone’s eyes start to glow with understanding. The descendants of Bohemians and Moravians usually remember one of their ancestors who came from “the old motherland”. “Amerikáni“, on the other hand, know our republic because they are aware of how much the Czech migrants contributed to their American society.In time, I also met in Texas the descendants of people from Rožnov who had crossed the ocean. During our interviews, I found that all of them had excellent compilations of their family history – many times researched as far back as the 18th century. This really amazed me for I, as a historian, know very little about my great grandparents, and I think that I am not an unusual case in the Czech Republic. This made me rethink and re-evaluate the concept of this presented book. In the end, I am not its author for I would be unable to fully understand the lives and fates of the immigrants. Instead, the descendants of Rožnov Texans conducted the task.To conclude this introduction, I would like to give many thanks, especially to those who contributed to this work and made it possible. I am also very grateful to the historian Janis Hrncir of the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center. She assisted with her erudition and kindness in not only helping me to understand better the history of the emigrants in Fayette County and the surrounding area, but she also provided me with contacts for some of the descendants of the Rožnov emigrants. I also appreciate the financial help of the city Rožnov pod Radhoštěm that contributed to the publication of this book.
Lukáš Perutka, Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, listopad 2018
A6, 110 stran, brožovaná