When the young Shibleys returned to Cleveland, Raymond Shibley took on the work of tutoring sighted people in French, using a dictating machine and tape recorder.

He received a Master's degree from Western Reserve in 1940 and became the first blind student to receive a teaching certificate in the State of Ohio.

Raymond Shibley taught for a number of years until a serious illness impaired his hearing. Although semi-retired, he continued his interest in languages, literature, and history through the use of recordings, making particular use of the talking books for the blind from the Cleveland Public Library.

Post World War II Period

Interest in affairs of the Middle East took a political turn as the international spotlight turned to Palestine during the years of the British Mandate preceding the outbreak of World War II.

Young men of the Arabic speaking community joined in vigorous debate with fellow Americans from the Jewish community on the controversial and inflammatory subject of Palestine, and its political and human rights.

The Cleveland Public Library was among the sites used for these debates which drew large audiences. Among the most persuasive of the Arabic speaking debaters were James (Jimmy) Shalala and Burt Haddad.

Motivated by a strong sense of personal involvement. Jimmy Shalala encouraged his contemporaries to engage in the political arena and in social and cultural pursuits. He was a founder and early president of the




Midwest Federation of American Syrian-Lebanese Clubs and was long active politically in Republican circles. In 1947, he was instrumental in bringing into Cleveland nearly ten thousand Syrian-Lebanese from throughout the United States in a Midwest Federation Convention of several days duration. The meetings and the grand banquet and dance were held in Cleveland's Public Hall, the only building in the city large enough to accommodate a gathering of that size.

Burt Haddad was a driving force in the organization of overseas relief programs for the Middle East following the Partition of Palestine and the outbreak of war in 1948. He was the recipient of numerous honors and awards from the United States and Middle East governments for the humanitarian efforts he had spearheaded, among which was a clothing caravan which was convoyed across the United States collecting thousands of tons of goods for shipments overseas.

The process of assimilation and acculturation continued through the 40's, 50's, and 60's. The Arab American community no longer conducted its life in a peaceful parallel to that of the broader community, but was absorbed into the economic, educational and social life of the mainstream.

However, the churches continued to be the focal gathering points for the largest segment of the Arab-American community in Cleveland. Since each church was now well established it was no longer necessary to share church facilities. The spirit of cooperation and unity often characteristic of small beginning groups was dimmed by the economic advances and social competition indicative of an expanding community.

Intermarriages had become common and members of other nationalities brought into the Arab-American community their own customs and national




characteristics, adding new vigor and drive, particularly to the women's groups. Bazaars, carnivals. Las Vegas Nights, and other fund-raising affairs were held annually, each group competing for the biggest and the best turnout, the richest outlay of cash.

While assimilation and Americanization continued in the evolving ethnicity, there remained, nevertheless, undeniable traces among even the younger generations, of that inheritance of the old Turkish domination, the millet. Representation by group, and conduct by group, reminescent of the one-to-one ties in the ancestral land still influenced many of the activities of the community.

In the evolution of ethnicity, Arab-Americans, like other first- and second-generation children of immigrants were in a period of transition between the old-home learned customs and culture of the group society, and the new western orientation of the society of individuals.


The Million Pound Clothing Drive for Arab Refugees Organized by Burt Haddad -- 1952