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Oral History Project

The Oral History Project collects, preserves, and makes available interviews conducted with individuals who have recollections of events and people associated with Arab Americans and Chaldeans. 

The archival holdings are stored at the Bentley Historical Library on the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus.  The Bentley Library periodically lists the names of THE COLLECTIONS.

“One of the most famous is the Jabara Collection. Abdeen Jabara, the noted civil rights attorney, donated his personal files to the Archive.  His papers are a significant record of civil rights activity over four decades.   We also have donations from Julia Makarem of the Druze Society of North America.”

“Another prominent donation came from Dennis Denno who founded the Arab American Students Association of Michigan State University in the 1980s.  The other prominent donations came from noted scholar and past President of the Middles East Studies Association, Barbara Aswad; the  well-known  Dearborn activist, Don Unis; and the editor and owner of the Arab American News , Osama Siblani.  Mr. Siblani has designated the Bentley Library as the depository for his newspaper, including over two decades of past issues” (Center for Arab American Studies [CAAS], The University of Michigan – Dearborn, A Report to Friends of the Center, Winter 2003.

When I was asked to be a part of the Oral History Project, I was excited to begin interviewing members of the Druze community in North America.  The Oral History Project calls these people,” those walking history books whose stories should be preserved while they are still around to tell them.”  Many members of the Druze community have already contributed the records of their lives here in the United States, as well as pictures, films, and cassette tapes they had in their possession. I have included them in my collection at the Bentley Historical Library.   I have also skimmed all the publications of the American Druze Society’s publications, including The Heritage going back to 1946, and I have put those articles on this web site about these people’s stories that are reminiscent of an age when they first entered the shores of this country.