History of the Druze in America 1962 to 1970
American Druze Society
1962. Chicago, Illinois
The Sixteenth American Druze Society Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois at the Hotel Sherman. The dates were June 24, 25, 26, 27, 1962. The President was Julie Mullin Makarem. She and her husband, Dr. Sami Makarem, were still on their honeymoon while she presided as President at the Convention. Sami referred to himself as ‘Prince Phillip.” They had met each other at the 1961 Convention in Flint, Michigan and gotten married just two weeks before the Chicago Convention on June 9, 1962 in Detroit, Michigan. They lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan for one year, and Sami and Julie moved to Lebanon with their two-month old daughter, Sahar, on July 9, 1963.
Mack Joseph Azzam, the Convention General Chairman, and his wife, Salimi, were the only Druze residents of Chicago, Illinois. Single handedly, they sustained the American Druze Society by sponsoring the Convention in Chicago. The officers were:
Vice president, Salimi Joseph Azzam, Secretary-Treasurer, Nadia Abraham, Corresponding Secretary, Joan Sefa, Sergeant-At-Arms, Amin Ally, Executive Secretary, Joe H. Nappa, Advisors: Robert M. Hamady Flint, Jack A. Hamady ,Roy R. Hamady, Nafe Katter, Sr. Saginaw, Charles Dahook, Ernie Mullen, Fred Sefa, Jim Silman, Sr., Khalil Wahbey . Convention Committee: Roy R. Hamady, James Albee, Selma Joe Bomorro ,Ajaj Andary, Selma Dahook, Emma Saley, Salimi Azzam, Joan Sefa, Nafe Bomorro, Alexander J. Sim, Lily Hamady, Floyd Saley, Sami Nassib Makarem , Ralph Modad, Slyman Kysia.
Julie Mullin was elected the National President in 1961, and with her team of officers, she carried the Society through another tumultus year. She was the first woman awarded Life Membership for her devotion and dedication to her beloved American Druze Society. Julie met the criteria for the “Life Member’ and under the recommendation of Robert Hamady from Flint, Michigan, and seconded by Uncles Nafe Katter from Saginaw, Michigan, and Jack Hamady from Flint, Michigan, and Rafic Rasamny from New York, Julie was awarded Life Member status during the Banquet. In her “A Message from the President” she writes in the Convention Booklet: “It is with pleasure that I write this annual Presidential message. This year marks the Sixteenth Anniversary of the American Druze Society. Since its inception in 1947, this Society has done the best it could in order to fulfill its manifold task. Every year, it becomes more and more aware of the increasing responsibilities it has to face. These responsibilities make us firmly believe in the indensibility of our American Druze Society for they can only be achieved by sincere cooperation through such a society . . . It is the message of the American Druze youth who are proud of being Americans, as well as being Druzes. It is, therefore, a message of the youth, a firm will, and a continuous progress from the good to the better.”
The program included Early Bird Party, Luncheon and Welcome by President Julie Mullin Makarem, a Chicago Shoreline Cruise, Picnic at the Clayton F. Smith Forest Preserve, Continental Breakfast, Arabic Movies (‘A New Day in the Middle East’ & ‘Baalbec Festival’ ),Annual Banquet and American and Arabic Music.
It is important to mention, with respect to this history, that the precious year of 1961 gave this society the legal name of ADS by its first Constitution and Bylaws.
1963. Richmond, Virginia
The President of the Society and Chairman of the Convention was George Rafey, and Jameel Ameen was the Vice-President. Officers were: David Ameen, Edna Joseph and Haney Fayed. There are no other records.
1964. Charleston, West Virginia
The Eighteenth Annual Convention of the American Druze Society was held at Daniel Boone hotel from June 25 through June 27, 1994. The President of the Society and the Convention Chairperson was Fred H. Joseph and Vice President was Norman Shaar. Officers were: Ameen Joseph, Jr., Secretary - Treasurer, Rose Marie Joseph, Corresponding Secretary, and Kamal Shaar, Sergeant-at-arms. The committee Chairmen were Faye Basheer, Olga Joseph, Fred Yaha, Eddie Najar, Jimmy Najar, and Mickey Sanjid.
The program included an Early Bird Reception, Luncheon, Business Meetings, Picnic at the Holiday Park, Annual Banquet and Arabic and American Music Entertainment.
1965. Washington, D.C.
The 19th Annual Convention of the American Druze Society was held in Washington, D.C. on June 28, 39, and 30,1965. The place was the Sheraton Park Hotel. The President of the Society and the Convention Chairperson was Randy Shaban and Farris Sadak as Vice President. Officers were: Dr. Ernest Rafey, Secretary-Treasurer, Gamille Sadak, Correspond Secretary, and Nabeel David, Sergeant-at the Arms. Convention committee members were: Samia Salem, Samia Fayyad, Mansour Showkier, Nada Hassen, Camilla Ameen, Zee Sadak, Larry Rafey, Alva Salem, Mohammed Fayyad, Chafic Abou-Hosn, Mahmoud Sadak, Jimmie Silman, III and Dallal David.
In his “Welcome to Washington’ Message from the President” Randy Shaban writes in the Convention Booklet: “ ... After traveling throughout the country visiting with many members of our society, I find that the convention means a lot more to our people than I had ever imagined. We should all share the responsibility of participating and encouraging other Druze to participate in he sprit of the American Druze Society.”
The program included welcoming coffee, Picnic at the Rock Creek Park, Private tour of the White House, Business Breakfast, Movies of Lebanon and Baalbek, a Visit to the Lebanese Embassy, Annual Banquet, and Arabic and American Entertainment. On the first day of the convention, Mr. & Mrs. Ameen David invited all the conventioneers to be their guest at a cocktail, Buffet Supper and Discotheque party in the Champagne Room in Washington.
1966. Detroit, Michigan
The 20th Annual Convention of the American Druze Society was held in Detroit, Michigan on July 7, 8, and 9, 1966. The place was the Statler Hilton Hotel which was located in downtown Detroit. The Convention was sponsored by Branch #2 El-Bakaurat Ed-Dirziyat in Detroit, Michigan. The President of the Society and the Convention Chairperson was Nafe J. Bomorro and the Vice-President was Ajaj Andary. The Officers were: Jihad Alkateeb, Secretary-Treasurer, Selma Jo Bomorro, Corresponding Secretary, Frank Hamady, Sergeant-at Arms. Advisors were Jim Silman, Ernie Mullen and Floyd Saley. Convention Committee members: Lily Sob, Fred Mullen, Enda Corte, Hamad J. Bomorro, Laura Mullen, Virginia Mullen, Nora Wahbey, Helen Dow, Kalil Wahbey, Essam Naim
In the Dedication of the Convention booklet, Fred Massey wrote, “Branch #2 El-Bakaurat Ed-Dirziyat in Detroit, Michigan hails the 1966 Annual Convention of the American Druze Society and bespeaks full enjoyment for all participants and meaningful achievements for its worthy aims. Branch #2 El-Bakaurat Ed-Dirziyat in Detroit, Michigan further, cordially greets all sister locals of this fraternal organization and trusts they are all animated by ardent interest in its life and sustained determination for its growth. Let us rally around the banner of our Fathers raised fifty years ago. Let us pledge out united fidelity to the Druze unity they envisioned and consecrated. Let us give continuing evidence to their gospel of high purpose, vigorous dialogue, and true friendship and understanding in our ranks.
The program included Early Bird Party, Luncheon and Fashion Show, Panel Discussion, Question and Answer Period (Mr. Fred Massey, Speaker), Dancing - Arabic and American, All day Picnic at Edward Hines Park, Surprise Party, Breakfast and Business Meeting , and the Annual Banquet.
1967. Daytona Beach, Florida
The 21st Annual Convention of the American Druze Society was held at Daytona Plaza Hotel, Florida from June 26 through June 28th, 1967. The booklet of the convention was dedicated to late Robert Hamady. The President of the Society and its Convention Chairman was Farris Shaheen and Fred Deen was the Vice President. Officers were Delores Deen, Secretary-Treasure, David Mosrie, Sergeant-at-Arms and Baheej Abulhosn General Chairman. Advisors were: Arif Hatoum, Mack Hamed, and Sam Ackley. Convention Committee members were Helen Alley, Elia Peres, Julia Alden, and Atef Hatoum.
This convention was for the first time in Florida and had neither a large Druze community there nor a branch for the Bakourat. It was a huge success. The program included Early Bird Party, Luncheon, Picnic at the Tomoka Park, Breakfast and Business meeting, Annual Banquet and American and Arabic music.
1968. Charleston, West Virginia
The 22nd Annual American Druze Convention was held at the Daniel Boone Hotel from June 24th through June 26th, 1969. The President of the Society and Convention Chairman was Adil H. Najar and William Hamady was the Vice President. Officers were: Secretary-Treasurer, Norman Shaar, Corresponding Secretary, Linda Nameen, Sergeant-at-Arms, Ernie Joseph. Advisors: Harry Hamdan, Mickey Sangid, Freddie H. Joseph, Randy Shaban and Nora Wehby. Convention Committee members: Emily Joseph, Joe Joseph, Fouad Ynava, Nahia Joseph, Lila Kannon and Jamal Richards. Speaker: Dr. Abdallah Najjar, Chief International Affairs Office, National Communicable Disease Center, United States Public Health Service. The program included Early Bird Party, Picnic, Breakfast and Business meeting, Annual Banquet and American and Arabic Music.
1969. Richmond, Virginia
The 23rd Annual Convention of the American Druze Society was held at the Holiday Inn West from June 15th through June 18th, 1969. The President of the Society and the Convention Chairperson was George A. Rafey and Jameel Ameen was the Vice President. Officers were: Secretary-Treasurer, David Ameen, Corresponding Secretary, Enda Joseph, Sergeant-at Arms, Haney Fayed. Advisors: Sam Rafey, Najim Basheer, and Ameen David. Convention Committee: Nadia Rafey, Idell Ameen, Evelyn billy, Julia Ameen, Virginia Fayed, Ralph Shibley, Michael Billy, Said Ameen, Roma Ameen, Clara Ameen and James Sams. The program included President’s Reception, Orientation Meeting, trip to Williamsburg, Arabic Buffet, Crowning of “Miss Druze” 1969, Picnic at St. Anthony’s Recreation Area, Breakfast and Business Meeting, Druze Panel Discussion, Banquet and Arabic and American music.
1970. Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan was the site of the 24th Annual Convention of the American Druze Society on July 6, 7, 8, and 9, 1970 at the Detroit Hilton Hotel. The President of the Society and the Convention Chairperson was Nafe J. Bomorra and Ernie Mullen as Vice President. Officers were: Secretary-Treasurer, Dan Sefa, Corresponding Secretary, Selma Jo Bomorra, Sergeant-at Arms, Riad Elassal. Advisors: Jihad Alkateeb, Jack Hamady, Nafe Katter, Mike and Zabad Saleem, Kalil and Nora Wahbey. Convention Committee members: Laura Mullen, Fred Mullen, Nadia Alkateeb, Ajaj Andary and Hamad J. Bomorra. The program included Sip and Chat Party, Luncheon, Druze Panel Discussion, Picnic at Belle Isle Park, Breakfast and Business Meeting, Arabic and American music and continental
The first seed sown in 1908 in Seattle, Washington, El-Bakaurat Ed-Dirziyat, has brought forth the American Druze Society (ADS). The goals of the ADS complement the goals of the Branches of the El-Bakaurat Ed-Dirziyat. The initial goal of those first Druze immigrants, the pioneers, has been fulfilled and is alive in the American Druze Society as it was in the Branch #1 El-Bakaurat Ed-Dirziyat, as well as all the other nine branches. Their aim was to keep Druzism alive in the Western Hemisphere, as well as to keep all the American Druze, from generation to generation, proud of their heritage. They had a dream that the name of Druzism must live on anywhere its descendants might locate during the first period of immigration and thereafter. The dream materialized into ten El-Bakaurat Ed-Dirziyat branches. They shared the joys and sorrows of each other, and traveled long distances to attend conventions.