A college professor is coming to Bakersfield on Sunday and Monday in hopes of talking to local families whose ancestors immigrated from Syria and Lebanon and settled here between the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Lisa Solomon, a history professor at Imperial Valley College, is researching immigrants in Central California because most of the recent scholarship on Syrian and Lebanese immigrants tends to focus on settlements in the eastern United States.
Solomon's paternal grandparents came to California in 1912 from Greater Syria, giving her work a personal emphasis.
"I grew up in rural Fresno County where my Syrian grandparents and other Syrian and Lebanese immigrants settled between 1890 and 1925," Solomon is quoted in a news release. "My interest in their history, which is also my history, began as I listened to their stories while I was a child."
Solomon's project is an expansion of her master's thesis, which she completed as a grad student at Cal State Stanislaus.
"While I have gained a significant amount of printed material, I would like to gain more family histories," she said.
Solomon will be collecting oral histories in Bakersfield on Sunday evening and during the day on Monday. If you would like to participate, call Soloman at 760-604-8908.