Monday, March 25, 2019

Arab American Heritage Month


National Arab American Heritage Month celebrates the 1,697,570 Arab Americans in the United States (according to the 2010 U.S. Census).
See 100 Questions and Answers about Arab Americans, a journalist's guide developed by Joe Grimm, MSU School of Journalism.


Etching Our Own Image: Voices from within the Arab-American Art Movement, edited by Anan Ameri and Holly Arida. NX512.3.A73 E83 2007 EBK eBooks on EBSCOhost.

Encyclopedia of Arab American Artists. N6538.A73 O94 2008 EBK Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Modern Arab American Fiction: A Reader's Guide, by Steven Salaita. PS153.A73 S33 2011 NRG

April is also National Poetry Month--a good time to enjoy the verses of Arab American poets:

I believe in you, and I believe in your destiny.
I believe that you are contributors to this new civilization.
I believe that you have inherited from your forefathers an ancient dream, a song, a prophecy, which you can proudly lay as a gift of gratitude upon the lap of America.
--Khalil Gibran

"These are the words of [possibly the most famous] Arab American poet ... Gibran Khalil (Kahlil) Gibran, written to Arab immigrants about a century ago" (Introduction, page [xiii], Encyclopedia of Arab American Artists. ACC libraries have several of his works, including The Prophet, for which he is best known

Gibran, Kahlil. The Prophet. PS3513.I25 P7 2010 EGN, HYS, RVS

Halaby, Laila. My Name on His Tongue: Poems. PS3608.A5455 M9 2012 NRG

Poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye
“Naomi Shihab Nye was born on March 12, 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Palestine, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her BA in English and world religions from Trinity University” (Academy of American Poets).
Read some of her poems at the Poetry Foundation or choose one of these titles from the ACC Library collections:

Nineteen Poems about the Middle East. PS3564.Y44 A613 2002 RRC

Words under the Words: Selected Poems. PS3564.Y44 A6 1995 RVS

Hugging the Jukebox. PS3564.Y44 H8 1982 RVS

Texas Poets in Concert: a Quartet--R.S. Gwynn, Jan Epton Seale, Naomi Shihab Nye, William Virgil Davis. PS558 .T4 T39 1990 SAC


Pop culture notables include singer-choreographer Paula Abdul, singer Frank Zappa, pop star Shakira, *M*A*S*H actor Jamie Farr, actors Michael Nouri and Vince Vaughn (Lebanese grandparent), Wendie Malick (father is from Egypt), Tony Shalhoub ("Monk"), Vic Tayback (TV series "Alice"), Kathy Najimy (films "Sister Act" and "Hocus Pocus"), Salma Hayek (Lebanese and Mexican descent), Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham, screenwriter and novelist William Peter Blatty (The Exorcist), and more.

Arab American Texans include Richard E. Rainwater (Lebanese-American) who built his reputation managing investments for Texas wealthy Bass family and earned millions for himself as a result; Egyptian-born Texas billionaire Fayez Sarofim who heads Fayez Sarofim Co., a team of investment managers, is part owner of the NFL team Houston Texans, and manages the Houston Fine Arts Museum’s $300 million endowment; Texas lawyer Joseph D. Jamail who won the biggest business settlement in U.S. history, on behalf of Pennzoil ($10 billion dollars!), and U.S. Congressman Abraham Kazen, Jr. usually known as Chick Kazen, who was a U.S. Representative from Texas's 23rd congressional district from 1966-1984. (Arab American Institute)

The Arab American National Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is the first museum in the world devoted to Arab American history and culture. “By bringing the voices and faces of Arab Americans to mainstream audiences, we continue our commitment to dispel misconceptions about Arab Americans and other minorities. The Museum brings to light the shared experiences of immigrants and ethnic groups, paying tribute to the diversity of our nation.”


Arab Households in the United States: 2006-2010. American Community Survey May 2013, Maryam Asi and Daniel Beaulieu. U.S. Census Bureau.

We the People of Arab Ancestry in the United States. Published by the U.S. Census Bureau, March 2005.

For more information on Arab Americans, see the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys, Dimensions of Diversity, and Multicultural History research guides.