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.
There's a thwarted love story implied in the entry records of Ajudhia Persaud, a student at McGill University in Montreal and a repeat visitor to New York to see his wife Laika.
Motee Singh's Arrival Record
Motee "Kid" Singh, a professional boxer, arrives in New York in 1931 on the steamship Munamar and is identified on the passenger manifest as an "East Indian" able to read and write English and "Hindoo." The featherweigh
Rose Su Persaud's Arrival Record
In 1924, a 23-year old widow named Rose Su Persaud arrived at Ellis Island and declared her intention to go live with her sister Agnes Premdas at the Phyllis Wheatley Hotel in Harlem, founded and run by Marcus Garvey’s Pan-Africanist United Negro Improvement Association.
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.