Apr. 15

Issa Benyamin

In a cemetery about two-and-a-half hours away from Chicago, in Normal, Illinois, there is a headstone with Assyrian calligraphy on it.  The grave belongs to Issa Benyamin and his wife, Clara Manasserians.  Beneath Issa Benyamin’s name is the epitaph, “Father of Assyrian Calligraphy.”  Although calligraphy has been a popular form of art among many groups […]

Mar. 24

Elmer “Mousey” Alexander

Elmer “Mousey” (sometimes spelled “Mousie”) Alexander was an American jazz drummer who performed with musicians such as the jazz clarinetist, Benny Goodman, and the jazz singer, Billie Holiday.  He also happened to be Assyrian.   Elmer Alexander was born in Gary, Indiana in 1922 to Assyrian parents from Urmia, Persia (Iran).  Soon afterwards, the family […]

Mar. 19

Norma Sayad George

  Did you know that in 1995, the Assyrian Cultural Foundation (the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation at the time) published an Assyrian cookbook called Assyrian Mothers’ Cookbook: Our Heritage, to raise money for an Assyrian scholarship fund?  The book was so successful that it was published four separate times, with over 1,000 books printed each […]

Mar. 18

Atra Givarkes

Atra Givarkes is an Assyrian artist based in California.  What makes her style of art unique is that she tends to incorporate calligraphy into her work.  Calligraphy is an ancient style of art found in both the Eastern and Western world, but especially common in the Middle East.  It emphasizes the beauty found in different […]

Mar. 17

Murassa Urshan Georges

Did you know that one of the first people to record Assyrian music in the United States was a woman who lived in Chicago named Murassa Urshan Daniels (later Georges)?  The Great Depression began in the United States in 1929, making it hard for people to find jobs or make money.  Fortunately, for the Daniels […]