In the late 1800s, Cleveland, Ohio, became home to a large Slovenian immigrant population, which would eventually increase to form the largest Slovenian community in the United States. By 1912, there were 25,000 Slovenians in the city, 3,000 of whom had gained their citizenship. Serving this community were a number of Slovenian-language newspapers, the first having been the Nova Domovina (“New Home”), founded in 1899. The Enakopravnost (“Equality”) was established in 1918 as the first Slovenian daily newspaper in Cleveland. Its founding was mainly in response to the movement for an independent Yugoslav state at the end of World War I. Initially a labor paper with a slight Republican bent, the Enakopravnost became Independent five years after its start. The main rival to this liberal publication was the conservative and Catholic-oriented Ameriška Domovina (“American Home”), which had begun as the Clevelandska Amerika in 1908, replacing the Nova Domovina and changing its name after World War I.
As a Cleveland-centered paper, the Enakopravnost often reported on local news, as well as important developments from across the state of Ohio. In addition, the newspaper covered national and European news; during World War II, for example, there was substantial coverage of events in both the European and Pacific theaters. As a labor-oriented paper, the Enakopravnost also reported on the activities of unions throughout the country, including picketing in Philadelphia at a General Electric plant and a clash between Ford and the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations). Starting in the 1930s, a small English section was included each week, mostly covering local events, meetings, and people.
The Enakopravnost was published by Frank Oglar, president of the American Jugoslav Printing & Publishing Co. Louis F. Truger served as editor until 1919 when Vatroslav J. Grill, a leader in Cleveland’s Slovenian community, became editor. Grill also became a lawyer and teacher, and in 1928, he was elected national president of the Chicago-based Slovenian Progressive Benefit Society. In 1942, Grill resigned as editor of the Enakopravnost, but he continued as president of the American Jugoslav Printing & Publishing Co. until 1959, having taken over after Oglar. After Grill, the Enakopravnost was edited by Anton Sabec. Under Sabec, the paper became increasingly anti-fascist in tone with the approach of World War II. After the war, it defended the Communist regime in Yugoslavia, gaining the attention of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The Enakopravnost ceased publication in 1957.
Researched and written by Bronwyn Benson