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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

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ORAL HISTORY

Elaine Daho, President, Clarksdale Cedar Club


Clarksdale Cedar Club

Elaine Rustom Daho was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1949. In the 1960s two of her older sisters married and followed their husbands to Jackson, Mississippi. In 1968 Joseph Rustom, father of these three sisters, arrived in Mississippi. In 1970 Elaine arrived in Jackson with her mother and siblings. Less than two years later, she married George Daho, and they moved to Memphis. Soon, Elaine and George relocated to Clarksdale, where they opened the Super Soul Shop on Yazoo Avenue.

At first, life in Clarksdale was difficult. Not only was Elaine a recent immigrant, she was the lone Syrian among a great community of Lebanese. As Elaine puts it, she was the outsider of outsiders. But she managed to get a foothold in the Lebanese community and became a member of the Clarksdale Cedars Club, a Lebanese Social Club. Today, Elaine is the club’s president.

Today, the future of the Clarksdale Cedars Club is uncertain. Once a vibrant organization that raised funds in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, membership in the club is on the wane. So long as Elaine is president—a title she holds indefinitely—members of the Clarksdale Cedars Club say they will continue to gather.

Date of interview:
2010-08-11 00:00

Interviewer:
Amy Evans

Photographer:
Amy Evans

Download Transcript

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