Cedars in the Pines: A Documentary on Lebanese in North Carolina

Screen capture of Lebanese in North Carolina website
Curious about how folks with such last names as Zaytoun, Saleeby, Baddour or Hatem ended up in such towns as New Bern, Salisbury, Goldsboro or Rocky Mount? If so, then check out a documentary screening scheduled for April 12 at the North Carolina Museum of History. A team led by N.C. State professor Akram Khater has produced Cedars in the Pines: The Lebanese in North Carolina. The film documents the settlement of Lebanese in the Old North State, from the first wave seeking economic opportunity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to a second wave fleeing civil war in the 1970s and 1980s. Cedars in the Pines is part of a larger effort to record and share the history of settlers who first made their livings as peddlers and shop owners and who now make their mark as doctors, developers, lawyers and politicians.

We at the North Carolina Collection are proud to have shared our resources and expertise with the project.

The first screening of the film is already booked up. But organizers have scheduled a second free screening. Reservations for that event are filling up quickly.

A Loyalist Describes North Carolina

“On the south you can see the Dan, the Catawba, the Yadkin, and the Haw, breaking through the mighty mountains that appear in confused heaps, and piled on each other in almost every direction.

“Throughout the whole of this amazing and most extensive perspective, there is not the least feature or trace of art or improvement to be discovered.

“All are genuine effects of nature alone, and laid down on her most extended and grandest scale.

“Contemplating thereon fills the eye, engrosses the mind, and enlarges the soul.

“It totally absorbs the senses, overwhelms all the faculties, expands even the grandest ideas beyond all conception, and occasions you almost to forget that you are a human creature.”

–Author, Loyalist, and British soldier John Ferdinand Dalziel Smyth describing the view after he and others climbed Wart Mountain in the Allegheny Mountains. This description is found in Smyth’s A Tour in the United States of America… (1784), an excerpt of which appears in Reading the Roots: American Nature Writing before Walden, edited by Michael P. Branch.