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LDL Presents GVSU Professor/Author in Syrian and Lebanese Studies April 9 | Arts & Culture

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LDL Presents GVSU Professor/Author in Syrian and Lebanese Studies April 9
LDL Presents GVSU Professor/Author in Syrian and Lebanese Studies April 9

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.– Author and GVSU professor Jim Goode will present a brief history of the old Syrian community of Grand Rapids, one of the largest in the United States on Thursday, April 9 at the Loutit District Library.

He will discuss patterns of immigration, the economic and religious character of the community, and its slow process of acculturation. He will focus on one member of this community in particular, businessman Joseph Nejem, who made his home in Grand Haven from 1908 to 1970

Goode’s program is free to the public and runs from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the LDL’s Program Room A. For more information on LDL programs, visit www.loutitilibbrary.org or call (616) 842-5560, ext. 200.

His book, "A History of the Syrian Community of Grand Rapids, 1890-1945: From the Beqaa to the Grand," shares the history of the Syrians (now Lebanese) in Grand Rapids with the descendants of that community.

With the assistance of five Grand Valley history students, Goode interviewed 40 individuals who are second- and third-generation descendents of Lebanese Americans. Although most of the people interviewed were Antiochian Orthodox, Goode made his own discoveries while studying the community’s religious affiliations.

“Through my research, I found that there was a small Syrian Muslim community in Grand Rapids by the end of World War I,” said Goode. “I conducted more interviews after the students I was working with graduated, and I have devoted a chapter of the book to this Muslim community.”

Loutit District Library is located at 407 Columbus Ave. in Grand Haven, Michigan. LDL serves 35,540 residents of the City of Grand Haven, the City of Ferrysburg, Grand Haven Charter Township, Robinson Township and that part of Port Sheldon Township in the Grand Haven Area Public School District. LDL offers a collection of over 145,581 items and provides educational, informative, cultural, and recreational programs for all ages. LDL is a member of the Lakeland Library Cooperative.