Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Early Bangali Immigrants Blended With Blacks and Puerto Ricans in the USA


Vivek Bald's ground-breaking book on early Bangali immigrants in the USA
Photo courtesy: www.mixedracestudies.org/


Bangali immigrants with their wives meet at the 1952 Pakistan League of America banquet in New York
 Photo courtesy: inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/

Bangali (also written as Bengalee or Bengali) immigrants, who mostly worked in British ships, jumped ships while in the USA in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and blended with Blacks and Puerto Ricans for survival. They, thereby, lost their Bangali identity – language, culture and even skin colour in their descendants – and connection with their motherland, present Bangladesh or West Bengal region of the then British India. 

A century later, Vivek Bald, of mixed race ancestry himself, enumerated this formerly unknown immigration saga in his book, Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America, recently published by the Harvard University Press. 

Vivek Bald tells the CNN:  “This was a population who came to the United States at a time when this country had erected quite draconian race-based immigration laws.” He also said: “They came during that time but were able to build networks in order to access jobs all over the United States."

To learn more on these lost immigrants, please visit the following: 


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