By Vivek Bald
Nineteenth-century Muslim peddlers arrived at Ellis Island, luggage heavy with silks from their villages in Bengal. call for for “Oriental items” took those migrants on a curious direction, from New Jersey’s boardwalks to the segregated South. Bald’s heritage unearths cross-racial affinities less than the outside of early twentieth-century the US.
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Extra info for Bengali Harlem and the lost histories of South Asian America
15 Upper-class women used Oriental goods to create lavish schemes for the interiors of their homes. Chicago’s society matron Bertha Honoré Palmer, for example, decorated her Lake Shore Drive mansion in a series of regionally themed rooms. According to historian Kristin Hoganson, the home “had a Spanish music room, English dining room, Moorish ballroom, Flemish library, and French and Chinese drawing rooms. ”16 Such women, Hoganson argues, used themed interiors to push beyond domestic constraints—to assert their connection to a wider world.
By the end of the 1880s, they and others from their region had established a distinct pattern of sojourning migration centered on the summer season of New Jersey’s beachside resorts. S. commentators began to take notice. On May 29, 1889, Mohammad Hossain accompanied nine other men from India to New York, traveling the final leg from London on the SS Egyptian Monarch. ” Two years later, on July 19, 1891, Hooghly’s chikondars again came to the notice of the press. This time, they warranted a full paragraph in the Chicago Tribune.
Borders was the Alien Contract Labor Law. S. S. workers. The law was also, however, an extension of the Chinese Exclusion Act and was suff used with antiAsian sentiments and assumptions. 77 The enforcement of this law was difficult and uneven, but the Bengali peddlers would have been more likely than many others to be accused of being bonded laborers. 78 The Bengalis’ operation was a variant of the latter, but the more organized and coordinated it became, the more easily immigration officials could claim that arriving peddlers were “assisted” migrants, Out of the East and into the South 41 “bonded laborers,” entering the United States in violation of the law, and were therefore to be detained and turned back.
Bengali Harlem and the lost histories of South Asian America by Vivek Bald