Welcome to Arabs in America. This website is designed to be a resource for anyone wishing to learn more about Arabs in America, the history of their immigration, their religious affiliations, their artistic production in literature, the visual arts, music and film, their political contributions and their active participation in American public life. Before getting started, test your knowledge of Arab Americans on by taking a quiz offered by the Arab American Institute. Then, review your answers on AAI’s Famous Arab Americans page or explore the Arabs in America website to learn more about this under-recognized population in the United States.
You will learn through this website that Arab Americans have played a central role in American society—as entertainers, politicians, businesspeople, doctors, lawyers, community leaders, and as ordinary, hard-working citizens. The Arab-American experience is truly an American story which has often been silenced or overlooked. Just like Polish Americans and Italian Americans and Jewish Americans, the immigration of Arabs to the United States and their evolution into integral, productive citizens is a purely American phenomenon.
Many Arab Americans are prominent and popular figures; their names are undoubtably familiar even though their Arab American background may not be. Shakira, Ralph Nader, Helen Thomas, Doug Flutie, Rima Fakih, General John Abizaid, Ghada Amer, and Edward Said–all pictured in the banner above–are among the numerous Arab Americans who have made tremendous contributions to American culture, politics, science, and art. Read more about prominent Arab Americans you may be familiar with.
We invite you here to learn about Arab-American contributions to the Visual Arts, read the story of early Arab-Americans such as Hi Jolly, of early Muslim-American slaves such as Omar ibn Sayyid. Discover how Arab Americans are playing an integral part in American public life by clicking the media listings and links, and explore other important topics, like Religion or Sexuality.
This project is directed by Dr. Sahar Amer, Professor of Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is sponsored by the UNC Center for Global Initiatives. The website has been created with the help of Graduate Assistant Emily Bowden.
Header images credited to: Rachel Voorhees, Sage Ross, Time.com, David Shankbone, and Wikimedia Commons.