On May 17th, 1929, two Lebanese immigrants in Lake City, Florida were murdered in a tragic tale of racial violence against Arab immigrants. Hasna Romey was killed by police while defending her husband and business, and her husband, N’oula, was imprisoned and lynched by members of the Ku Klux Klan in retaliation for his wife’s actions.
To share this story, the Khayrallah Center has published an interactive website. On the website, you will find a full length narrative (in both English and Arabic) of the tragic events leading up to May 17th, 1929, a detailed timeline and interactive map compiled from extensive research and eye witness accounts, primary source documents including newspaper articles, and letters to Florida’s governor, and family photographs generously donated by descendants of the Romey’s and their cousins.
We hope that viewers appreciate the gravity of this story and learn about the complex experiences of Lebanese immigrants to the United States. The story of N’oula and Hasna brings to light, albeit through its most terrifying outcome, an experience of racial violence and prejudice which many Lebanese and Arab immigrants have faced both in the past and today.
A documentary film is scheduled for release in Spring, 2020.
We welcome your comments and feedback on this project!
7 responses on “Announcing “The Romey Lynchings” Website”
Keep up the great work!
“Gibran’s Message To Young Americans of Greater Syrian Origin”
Is a lesson in civics to all the young people of today who are struggling with new/ and ethics of the past. Right and wrong real and fake.
I have copy of the message which i can share.
I’m retired in Santa Monica and would love to help in this project
Dear Mr. Toubassy, Thank you for your interest in the the project. We hope to screen the film in the Los Angeles area, keep your eyes out for announcements and join our list serve for updates. Also thank you for your kind offer to share Gibran’s message to Young Americans, but we actually have a copy of this in our reference collections. Kind regards, M. Stevens, Senior Researcher
How can I register to receive your announcements?
As the grandson of Lebanese immigrants and an Orthodox Priest living almost 50 years in Florida, this story and film have greatly impacted me. I have always had an abhorrence for racial, ethnic and religious intolerance. I wish that this type of ignorant bigotry were a thing of the past, but sadly it is very prevalent in our country today. It is especially painful when these same anti immigrant attitudes are held and proclaimed by the descendants of those who once were the targets of that bigotry. All of my grandparents emigrated to the United States from Lebanon in the late 1800’s. My paternal grandmother knew and socialized with Elia Abumadi, Gibran Khalil Gibran, the Moukarzel family of the Al Hoda newspaper; my maternal great grandmother from Zahle in the Bekaa made four transatlantic crossings to bring her family to America. I always knew they and others suffered a certain amount of bigotry; but this story of murder is much deeper. Thank you for sharing this history. May the souls of +Nicola and +Hasna be eternal.
Do you know the name of the second Syrian family that was in Lake City, Florida when the Romey’s were murdered. It mentions there were 2 families. I think one may be a Stephans family that the same thing happened too, but to not know the date, etc.
Hi Linda, the other family referenced in the project is the Moses family (cousins of the Romeys). This does not mean other Syrians were not present at times but in census and business directories, the Romeys and Moses families are the only we could identify.