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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. The school provided special meals for him that wouldn't violate his dietary restrictions as a Muslim. Now the city manager for Hollywood, Florida, Wazir reflects on the role that Enid Blyton's books played in his choosing to go to the United Kingdom, the political circumstances there that led him to come to the United States for graduate study and the relationship that convinced him to stay. The things he carried from Guyana to the United States were his father's copies of the novels of Edgar Mittelholzer, who captured life in the Corentyne countryside of Guyana, where Wazir was born and spent his childhood.

Duration: 00:48:21

Date: July 19, 2020
Subject(s): Wazir Ishmael
Type: Oral History
Source: Archival Creators Fellowship Program
Creator: Jordanna Ishmael
Location: Hollywood, FL

Collection: Gaiutra Bahadur Fellowship Project
Item History: 2020-08-28 (created); 2020-10-26 (modified)

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