John Apostolides: A Distinguished Greek and a Sign of Community

Located in the 1940 U.S. Census for Alexandria, Virginia is a John Apostolides, a 40-year-old Greek immigrant living alone. I decided to research him because of his profession as a FBI lawyer. This was highly unusual; most Greek immigrants worked in restaurants, and other small businesses owned by other Greek immigrant families prior to World War II.¹ So, I wanted to learn more about this man.  Upon searching through the Washington Post database hosted by ProQuest, I found a handful of articles that discussed Apostolides and some of the cases he worked as a detective in Washington, D.C. The first article that I found was in 1941 where he was promoted from private to a detective.²

Clipping from Washington Post

By 1946, he had reached the rank of sergeant detective, and also was on the check squad, which had to deal with fraud and bad check writing.3 This article also discussed Apostolides catching a man who embezzled around $8,500 from his employer and who was arrested in Reno, Nevada.4

Apostolides is interesting because he represents that the Greek immigrant community was establishing itself in Alexandria and diversify their occupations. In previous censuses, many Greek immigrants were not naturalized and lived as “lodgers,” renting or living with someone else. These Greek immigrants usually sent money back to Greece to support their families with the intentions of going back. The appearance of Apostolides as well as other Greek immigrants and their children show that some members of the Greek-American community were beginning to make Alexandria, Virginia their home.

1. Lazar Odzak, Demetrios is now Jimmy: Greek Immigrants in the Southern United States, 1895-1965 (Durham, NC: Monograph Publishers, 2006), 18.

2.“Kelly Promises Washington Nation’s Best Police Force: Kelly Pledges Finest Police Force to D.C.,” The Washington Post, Nov 2, 1941. 1.

3. “$8500 D.C. Fraud Suspect Found in Reno,” The Washington Post, Nov 30, 1946, 3.

4. Ibid.

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