History Is Lunch: James G. Thomas, “The Lebanese in Mississippi”

Two Mississippi Museums | 222 North Street, Jackson, Mississippi, 39201

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Join the Mississippi Department of Archives & History on site at the Two Mississippi Museums at noon on Wednesday, May 25, for History is Lunch (or watch the livestream on Facebook) when James G. Thomas, a Lebanese Mississippian and Delta native, will present “Mississippi Mahjar: The Lebanese in Mississippi.”
Thomas interviewed dozens of people to produce a project that documents and interprets the lives of first- and subsequent-generation Lebanese Mississippians. “It’s an oral record of their forbears’ experiences of settling in a foreign land where they knew few people, did not speak the language, and had to create their own occupations,” Thomas said. “Ultimately, the project is the collective story of maintaining an ethnic identity while assimilating into a new culture.”
The Lebanese in Mississippi: An Oral History—which can be found online at www.thelebaneseinmississippi.com—is a collection of memories that builds a collective understanding of why such a large number of Lebanese-Syrians left “the Mountain” and traveled west as far as the Americas. They illustrate how and why Lebanese families came to Mississippi, what their lives here were like, and how they made a living and found their places within that place, all while maintaining an ethnic identity. Jackson residents Al Katool and Dolores Thomas Ulmer, and Greenville native Mary Tonos Brantley, will join Thomas to discuss their experiences as people of Lebanese descent growing up in Mississippi.
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History Is Lunch is sponsored by the John and Lucy Shackelford Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation for Mississippi. The weekly lecture series of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History explores different aspects of the state’s past. The hour-long programs are held in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium of the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum building at 222 North Street in Jackson. MDAH livestreams videos of the program at noon on Wednesdays on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MDAHOfficial/. The videos are later posted on the department’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/MDAHVideo.
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