Ramu by Moses Bhagwan
Moses Bhagwan wrote "Ramu," a moving tribute to an archetypal figure in Guiana's history, the sugar cane cutter carrying his cutlass home from the fields, in 1964. At the time, Bhagwan was a political prisoner in a detention camp run by British colonial authorities. He wrote the poem, another one dedicated to his wife, and another invoking freedom in a notebook given to him by his sister.
Poem, "Ramu" Manuscript
This is the original manuscript for Ramu, composed while Moses Bhagwan was imprisoned by the British for his role as an anti-colonial leader, in the youth wing of the Guiana's People's Progressive Party.
repeat movement until by Nadia Misir
"repeat movement until" was composed by Nadia Misir, who holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens College. The poem gives elegaic voice to a wedding ring handed down in a family and evokes its experience with labor, with skin, with surfaces, with temperatures, with grandmothers and granddaughters, with death.
One Last Bag by Elizabeth Jaikaran
"One Last Bag" was composed by Elizabeth Jaikaran, the author of the short story collection Trauma. With its buoyant wit, it levitates what is otherwise heavy: the weight of an overstuffed suitcase and, through the figure of a migrant trying to please her Queens cousin, the weight of family expectations.
A heavy wooden vase, carried
This photograph was taken in Cumberland Village in Guyana the year before Gaiutra Bahadur's family left for America. Here, the archival creators fellow is sitting in the living room of the Bahadur family home, built by her grandfather born on a ship from India to Guyana a mile from the plantation where he worked as a sugar cane cutter.
Shew Persaud's Naturalization Petition
Shew Persaud was born in Georgetown, Guiana's colonial capital, in 1881. After arriving in the United States on a ship that sailed via Barbados, he petitioned to become a U.S. citizen twice, in 1917 and 1924. The first time, he was working as a dishwasher and living in West Harlem, separated from his wife, who was still in British Guiana.
Henry Sivenandan's Census Record
This U.S. Census record from 1940 provides a picture of a family from British Guiana with Indo-Caribbean last names identified as "Negro." Henry Sivenandan, an elevator operator in a loft building, and his wife Agnes, who worked in a dress factory, lived in Harlem with their toddler Saundra and Agnes' widowed older sister, Rose Persad, who worked as a seamstress in a dress factory.
Photograph of Clarice Ercel Reid Khan
Born in Georgetown, the capital of what was then British Guiana, Clarice Ercel Reid arrived in New York City on the steamship Mayaro in 1922, at the age of eighteen. In her years in the United States, she lived in West Harlem and worked as a housekeeper. She is pictured here in a photo from 1931, when she declared her intention to become a U.S. citizen. She became a U.S.
Wazir and Jordanna Ishmael Oral History
Jordanna Ishmael, an attorney at a law firm in Miami, speaks to her father Wazir Ishmael about his journey as a ten year-old boy from the sugar plantation in Berbice, Guyana where his father had worked as a "dispenser" (a cross between a pharmacist and physician) to the Bentham Grammar School, a boarding school in England. When he arrived there in 1970, he was one of two children of color there.