Fekkak Mamdouh is the co-author, with Rinku Sen, of The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization. He’s also the cofounder of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York and codirector of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, the country’s first national restaurant worker organization. Until September 11, 2001, he was a headwaiter and beloved union leader at Windows on the World, a restaurant in the World Trade Towers. Mamdouh grew up poor in Morrocco, and then emigrated to Saudi Arabia as a young adult, where he worked for the Saudi Royal Family. He first came to the United States as a paid companion to a Saudi prince, then overstayed his visa and remained here permanently, changing his status from illegal to legal through marriage.
In this PBC video he talks about his life, his organizing work, and what being American means to him.
Learn more about The Accidental American here. And don’t miss this PBC video interview with co-author Rinku Sen.