This groundbreaking book relates the oral histories of Romanies in the United States. It focuses on the Hungarian-Slovak Romani musical community originally from Delray, Michigan, as well as others from outlying areas in and near Michigan. Originally Romanies came from India and hundreds of years ago traveled to Europe, Latin America, the United States, and, eventually, Michigan. Their stories provide a different voice from the stereotypical, bigoted newspaper articles from Michigan newspapers in the late nineteenth century through today that reflect law enforcement agencies’ prejudices or “racial profiling.” Romanies in Michigan introduces their diverse, rich, resilient history in Michigan, based on oral histories, photographs, newspaper articles, legal documents, and other research. The book explores traditional modes of travel; Romanies’ identity, history, perspective, and challenges with non-Romanies; their feelings as a minority group; and their self-efficacy, respect, and pride in their culture and work.
"Building trust and opening communication are behaviors needed in an age of increasing divisiveness. Martha Aladjem Bloomfield, whose nonjudgmental approach to her work with lesser known, hidden ethnic communities demonstrates such behaviors for all of us. Resulting from her conversations with people, and contextualized by additional research, this book begins to uncover the wonderful diversity, values, talents, livelihoods, and challenges of Michigan Romanies. The values of family and community, music and conversation, and tenacity to survive and thrive despite external negativity are extraordinarily reflected."
—Gail A. Vander Stoep, Associate Professor, Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University
"Martha Aladjem Bloomfield offers a thoughtful introduction to Romanies who have immigrated to Michigan and now call it home. Using oral history methodology, Bloomfield gives Michigan Romani Americans a forum to describe their lives in their own words. Craftspeople, factory workers, scholars, and musicians tell their unique stories of immigration, adjustment, and assimilation to life in Michigan. The book does justice to the Romanies as an introduction to an often invisible and misunderstood community and will inspire readers to learn more."
—Nancy MacKay, author of Community Oral History Toolkit
"Voice of Roma is pleased to endorse Martha Aladjem Bloomfield’s book on Roma in Michigan. Many Americans know nothing of actual Romani culture and instead reproduce the harmful criminal and romantic stereotypes that misrepresent Romanies. This book provides the life histories and voices of many musicians, shopkeepers, craftspeople, and intellectuals of several generations from many subgroups of Roma. It shows the rich history of Michigan Roma despite persistent discrimination and highlights their contributions to American arts and culture."
—Voice of Roma