Wednesday 21st February 2018,

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Wall Street Journal: Early South Asian American Story Documented in New Book

posted by Randall

Bengali Harlen and the Histories of South Asian AmericansIt’s a story that really hasn’t been told. Muslim men from the Bengali village arrived in Harlem and New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Their journey is documented in a new book, “Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America” by Vivek Bald.

Bald recently talked to the Wall Street Journal.

“The project really stems from a series of conversations I started to have with the Bangladeshi American playwright and actor Alaudin Ullah about 15 or so years ago. Alaudin approached me about collaborating on a documentary about his father, Habib, and when he started telling me about his father it just really struck me because his story was so different from every other story of South Asian migration to the U.S. that I had heard,” said Bald.

In his book, Bald looks at the segregation and racist laws these men faced.

“They survived by building networks of kin and relying on the help and partnership of others within U.S. communities of color,’ Bald said.

Bald talks about the high rate of interracial marriage of the Bengali Villagers and the parts of their history that survives even today  in the Wall Street Journal.


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