Research Our Past

With the help of IUPUI student researchers and community members, we have discovered that the first Arabic-speaking neighborhood in Indianapolis was located where Lucas Oil Stadium sits today and that one of Arab Indianapolis’ most prominent merchants operated out of a storefront on Monument Circle. We have also documented how growing up on the Northside influenced Gov. Mitch Daniels’ life and career.

We research where the earliest families came from, how they got here, what neighborhoods they settled in, and where they worked or went to school. We also learn about their military service in both World War I and World War II, the social clubs they founded, the businesses they launched, and the recreation that they enjoyed. Then, looking past World War II, we are discovering information on Arabic-speaking immigrants who settled in the area after the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the Lebanese Civil War of 1975, the 1991 Gulf War, and the various conflagrations set off by the U.S. war on terror after 9/11.

Community researchers gather pictures and other sources. In addition, we will use collections at the Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis city directories, Sanborn insurance maps, the Indianapolis Star, and a catalogue of items available via Ancestry.Com, which has digitized U.S. Census records, ship manifests, military records, birth and death certificates, and marriage licenses, among other things.

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