Sada y sus contornos, Sociedad de Instrucción y Apoyo

Society founded in 1913 in New York.
(Arquivo do Reino de Galicia)

Society founded in New York on May 19, 1913 by migrants from Sada. It was based at 311 Water Street and later at 167 Cherry Street. As stated on its statutes, its objective was to improve elementary education in Sada, to educate men and women without prejudices and with a sense of social solidarity. The education provided would be free of charge for the children of partners and low-income families, in the areas of Sada, Bergondo and Oleiros, and would include evening classes for adults. The monthly fee in New York was 50 cents. Among the promoters of the Society were Ramón Mosteiro (its first president) and Antonio Fernández Pita, who later became mayor of Sada from 1932 to 1936, and was executed by the Francoists on November 27, 1936. Santiago Casares Quiroga was named an honorary member of the Society in 1930.

Like other societies created by migrants, Sada y sus Contornos organized fundraising events. For example, a 1920 article in the Eco de Galicia (Havana) reported on a “great dance” that took place in Leslie Hall in Broadway to raise funds to build a modern school in Sada. In order to be able to administer the donations and to construct this school, a twin society with the same was created in Sada in 1918. Construction work begin in 1922, and the school opened in 1927. Some publications at the time suggest there was criticism from the conservative sectors of Sada to the opening of a secular school. The New York society closed in 1935, but its football team Sada F.C. remained active at least until the 1950s.

Sada FC (1951-52) (Memoria of Casa Galicia)

In Galicia, after the coup d’etat of 1936, the school building was seized and used as a barracks for Franco’s troops. It reopened as a school in 1940, but not with the original secular spirit, and its library (called the “Argentine Republic” because of the donations made by the society created in Buenos Aires by migrants from Sada) suffered from censorship and even the burning of books. In New York, the members of the society took part in charity events organized by the Casa Galicia de Unidad Gallega, of which Emilio Flores Pérez (from Sada) was president. In the 1980s the Society was disbanded, giving a donation to Columbia University, which commemorated the event with a plaque. The school in Sada is still active today, and offers pre-school and primary school education. The effort and vision of the migrants from Sada in New York and their neighbors in Galicia still endures despite all the difficulties they had to face (Sources: “Unha achega á emigración galega a Nova York” (2008) by Nancy Pérez Rey; Statues of the Society and a book by Miguel Gayoso Barreiro published by the local authorities to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the school).

School in Sada financed by the society Sada y sus contornos from New York (personal collection)