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. citizen in 1937 but was stripped of her citizenship rights in 1942. It is unclear why she was denaturalized. In New York, she met an immigrant from India, Mohammed Yusuf Khan, and together, they had two sons. Khan disappeared from her life soon after, according to citizenship documents she filed. The couple's son Henry Khan retired as a sergeant major in the U.S. Army and then worked as a civil servant in the Department of Defense. Their grandson Yusuf Khan says that his grandfather fled India during civil unrest there. The romantic relationship between these two migrants from separate corners of the British empire blossomed in New York in the mid-1920s, during a moment of interpersonal and political alliances between black and brown folks in the United States, as captured in Vivek Bald's book Bengali Harlem.
Source: Archival Creators Fellowship Program
Location: New York, NY
Collection: Gaiutra Bahadur Fellowship Project
Digitizer: Gaiutra Bahadur
Item History: 2020-10-26 (created); 2020-10-26 (modified)
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