Mohaiyuddin Khan, trader
Khan left Guiana at the age of ten and traced out a seaman's or trader’s trajectory over the course of his life, traveling across the Malay States, India, South America, Africa, Japan, China, Switzerland, Ceylon and Italy. Khan had become a naturalized U.S. citizen the year before. For six months in 1921-1922, he traveled to London to buy skins and hides as an agent for an A.M.
Mohaiyuddin Khan, 1921
The U.S. Census, passport applications and naturalization petitions unfold the story of Mohaiyuddin Khan, a commercial trader who married, then divorced, a German-American woman.
Mohaiyuddin Khan Photo, 1919
At 5’11’’, Mohaiyuddin Khan was tall and striking, with an aquiline nose, a pointed chin and an oval face. His passport photos show a man who could have passed for Greek or Italian. Indeed, when he landed in New York in 1913, in his mid-twenties, he declared his intention to naturalize and gave his “color” as “white” and his birthplace as London.
Photo of Mohaiyuddin Khan with his wife Gertrude
Mohaiyuddin Khan's passport applications suggest that he was often away from his wife Gertrude’s home in Bedford-Stuyvesant. In 1920, the census showed him living in Brooklyn with her and her German immigrant family. The 1930 and 1940 censuses record her shorn of the surname Khan, using her maiden name again and working for an insurance company, with Mohaiyuddin no longer living with her.
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.