The first Sokol unit in the USA was founded on February 14, 1865, in St. Louis, Missouri. Within a few years, Sokol units formed in Chicago, New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cedar Rapids and Omaha. These early units organized and grew spontaneously. Eventually, all the units came together to form what is now the American Sokol. Early Sokol units were not only fitness centers for new immigrants, but also places for social activities which promoted heritage awareness and continued the bond with the “old country”. Sokol was instrumental in solidifying the Czech and Slovak immigrant communities of this country. Our Unit, the American Sokol Washington, DC, was inducted into the American Sokol Organization in 1947.
Today, American Sokol remains an organization dedicated to the physical, mental, and cultural advancement of its members. There currently are 32 American Sokol units operating in North America.
It has been almost 150 years that the American Sokol has been shaping the lives of Americans of Czech and Slovak heritage, as well as others – an endeavor worthy of recognition from the President of the United States:
“Ask not what you can get from your country, but what you can do for it. I appreciate the part the American Sokol Movement has played in establishing physical fitness and good sportsmanship as major objectives of recreation, education and our way of life. In years to come, I hope American Sokol’s example will inspire millions more to join in this pursuit of excellence.”
President John F. Kennedy