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:
- Paula Abdul
- Tony Shalhoub
- Shannon Elizabeth
- Salma Hayek
- Vince Vaughn
Other Arab-American History Month Resources
- The Progressive has a quiz full of interesting tidbits about Arab-Americans’ contributions.
- YouTube provides a place to view traditional and modern Arabian dance.
- Learn how to write the Arabic numbers 0-9.
- Get to know Arab-American artists and their work through the Arab American National Museum’s web site.
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.