Jun 15, 2013

Allentown's Syrians of The 6th Ward


When my grandfather first arrived in Allentown, he lived in the Ward, on 2nd. Street. It was around 1895 and the neighborhood was full of immigrants. Some groups came from the same area in the old country, most noticeably the Syrians, from the village of Amar. They were members of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, a Christian minority in a Muslim country. The congregation of St. George's Church on Catasauqua Ave., largely is descended from those immigrants. Well known names in Allentown, such as Atiyeh, Haddad, Hanna, Makoul, Koury and Joseph are among their members. They were among one of the first groups to organize, and those organizations still exist. The photo above was organized by the Syrian American Organization in 1944. Note that Jewish, on the left, is treated as a nationality.

click on photo to enlarge

UPDATE: This post is reprinted from March 2010, then titled The 6th Ward. An article in today's Morning Call describes the dilemma and concern the current conflict in Syria is causing the local Syrian community. I know from my Syrian friends that supposedly Assad's father's childhood nanny was Christian, and that Christians were protected under the Assads. It is not the purpose of this post to speculate on the current conflict in Syria, but to wish the relatives of our Syrian community safety.

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