Ben Daniel

Oct. 15

Did you know than an Assyrian man named Ben Daniel founded an English-language newspaper in Chicago called the Assyrian Guardian, which covered news relevant to Assyrians? Even though English was not his first language, Daniel contributed articles to other newspapers as well, such as the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. He also taught high school English for thirty years.

Benjamin A. Daniel was born in Hinaidi, Iraq in 1936. His family was originally from the village of Chamakiya in Urmia, Iran. In 1958, Daniel decided to further his education in the United States, so came to Chicago at the age of 22. Slowly, he worked his way up, first by taking high school classes at night while working in the day. Eventually, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from DePaul University and then a Master’s degree in English from Northeastern Illinois University in 1973. He began teaching English in the Chicago public school system after graduating from DePaul in 1966, and continued to do so until his untimely death from cancer in 1999.

Daniel remained active in the Assyrian community throughout his entire life. He was a member of the Assyrian American Association of Chicago and also became a writer and, later, an editor of the Assyrian Star magazine. In the 1980s, Daniel helped found a newspaper called The Chicago Assyrian, which was an English-language newspaper that covered Assyrian topics. Eventually, this newspaper evolved into the Assyrian Guardian. Daniel not only edited the Assyrian Guardian, but also contributed articles to it and made sure that it got published each month. Daniel spent his entire life trying to educate people, whether that be his students or the Assyrian community. The Assyrian community honored him for his work by awarding him a Distinguished Service Award in 1998.

Written by Esther Lang


Boylan, Anthony Burke. “Ben Daniel, Assyrian Journalist.” Chicago Tribune. January 28, 1999. (accessed September 3, 2021).

Daniel, Ben. “A Biographical Sketch of Ben Daniel.” The Assyrian Star. August, 1998.

“In Memoriam: Benjamin A. Daniel.” Nineveh. First/Second Quarter, 1999.

Shoumanov, Vasili. Assyrian American Association: 100 Years. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2018.