By now, most of us know that February is Black History Month and maybe even that March is Women’s History Month. But here in the Great Melting Pot that is the United States, we have so many cultures and heritages that should be honored. It just so happens that April is Arab-American Heritage Month, and there are some great resources out there to introduce students to a variety of Arab-Americans who have been a part of our larger American heritage.
For example, did you know that the heart pump was invented by Dr. Michael DeBakey who is now the chancellor of Baylor University’s College of Medicine? Or that two Arab-Americans have won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (Dr. Ahmed H. Zewail in 1999 and Dr. Elias Corey in 1990)?
There are also a host of famous Arab-American entertainers with whom students may already be familiar, including:
Each of these individuals is of Arab descent, and each has made a mark on the American culture. They’re all profiled, along with dozens of actors, designers, politicians, athletes, and more in the free publication Arab Americans Making a Difference. There’s an online version available through Arab American Institute, or you can email them for a print version at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Arab-American History Month Resources
National Arab-American Heritage Month is a great opportunity to introduce students to a wider diversity of citizens and culture than they typically encounter in the standard-issue history textbook. By combining profiles of famous Arab-Americans with fun recipes, culturally-based craft projects, and a look at some classic Arabian folktales, you can offer them a wonderful glimpse into a culture that isn’t often in the spotlight here in the U.S.