Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Featured Oral History Project: Delta Lebanese

Delta-Lebanese-262x300-1This week’s Featured Oral History Project focuses on the Delta Lebanese.
The first wave of Middle Eastern immigrants to the Mississippi Delta began in the 1880s and continued through the 1920s. They came from the Mount Lebanon region of Syria, looking to escape religious and political persecution and make better lives for their families in America.
Today, the Delta’s Lebanese community has dwindled. American-born children of immigrants left Mississippi to go to college or start families elsewhere. But vestiges of their vital culture remain. The tales collected here tell the story of immigration and assimilation. And, of course, they tell the stories behind the food.
Meet Mary Louise Nosser who, for more than 40 years, has helped stage the annual St. George Orthodox Church Lebanese Dinner. Hear Chafik Chamoun tell of how the kibbe sandwich his wife made for him jumpstarted a life in the restaurant business. Learn about Ethel Wright Mohamed, the late stitchery artist, who married an immigrant and documented their life in the Delta.
If you’re in Vicksburg this February, check out our link to the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church’s annual dinner.
— Sarah Camp Arnold, SouthernFoodways.com