A Yemeni Community: Photographs from the 1970s

06 January 2016
A Yemeni Community: Photographs from the 1970s

Before the decline of its industrial landscape, Lackawanna, New York was a lively steel city that employed more than half its population at the Bethlehem Steel plant. In this city was a small, but unique community of immigrants from the country of Yemen. 

When photographer Milton Rogovin visited the city in 1977, he was fascinated by the people’s interest in embracing modern-day American experiences while continuing to participate in their Yemeni traditions.

Now this unique blend of culture and identity can be experienced at the University of Michigan Detroit Center with the photo exhibition, “A Yemeni Community: Photographs from the 1970s,” an exhibition of the Arab American National Museum.

Born in 1909, Milton Rogovin was raised during the Great Depression and became politically active as a direct result of his childhood experiences with poverty. He studied optometry at Columbia University and opened a shop in Buffalo, New York in 1938. He purchased his first camera in 1942 and,  in 1958, spawned a lifelong passion for documentary photography  when he collaborated with a music professor to document music at churches. Rogovin began to photograph coal miners from across the world in 1962. These photos were ultimately used in his first and one of his most popular books, “The Forgotten Ones.”

Located in Monts Hall, “A Yemeni Community” runs from January 15 – February 27, 2016. The gallery is open to the public Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., and 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, including complimentary parking and admission.

For more information, contact the Detroit Center at (313) 593-3584 or detroitcenter@umich.edu.