Living in America
Gallery 2: Second Floor
Arab Americans have been an integral part of the history of the United States since its early days. Like other immigrants, they came to this country looking for a better life for themselves and their families. Early Arab immigrants worked as peddlers, grocery storeowners, and manual laborers. They lived in large cities and small towns, and settled in every state.
Arab Americans are remarkably diverse. They live in rural and major metropolitan areas. Some have settled in suburban communities, whereas others live in predominantly Arab American neighborhoods. Some are upper and middle class, whereas others are struggling workers with limited incomes.
Some Arab Americans are born in this country to American born parents and grandparents and have a limited knowledge of the Arabic language, others are recent immigrants who are fluent in Arabic, but speak little English. Arab Americans are also very diverse in their professions and level of income. Some are doctors and lawyers, some work in factories or on farms, and many prefer to have their own businesses. Some Arab American women stay home to raise their children and take care of their families, whereas others can be found in all kinds of professions.
Family tree Of the Najjar (Al-Balady) family. Gift of Philip Tamoush
Sewing machine, circa 1945. In 1944 Hannah Shakir started a small sportswear factory. This sewing machine is from that store, which closed in 1975. Gift of Evelyn Shakir. Photo credits: ACCESS/Keith Tolman