Saturday, March 14, 2009

Who's Up for Lebanese?

This post is a little different from the previous ones in that it relates to a current research project. I am part of a team of researchers putting together a photo history of Wichita's Lebanese community. A lot of people don't realize that the Lebanese (originally called Syrians before geopolitics made that term a little awkward to use) have been part of the Wichita scene since the 1890s. They started as peddlers then moved into retail and the professions. Most came from two areas in Lebanon: J'daidat in the district of Marjayoun and a pair of villages known as Ain Arab and Mhaithi.

They are Eastern Orthodox Christians for the most part with a few Catholics as well. A recent migration has included more from Beiruit who became active in the restaurant business. Although many people think Wichita is another Amarillo where we eat barbeque and chile, in fact Wichitans actually have opinions about who has the best hummus.

We are always looking for stories and photographs so if you know of any related to this community, let me know.

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