100 years ago today, Congress barred 500 million people from immigrating to the US. Those from India, Siam, Indo-China, parts of Siberia, Afghanistan, Arabia, and other places were barred. Also anarchists, polygamists, and those with disabilities. This lasted the next 30 years.
In August, 1920, immigration authorities arrested thirty-nine Indian workers at the gates of the Bethlehem Steel Company in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The subsequent set of events offers an intriguing look at Indian labor migrants caught on the crossroads between U.S. immigration officials and British interests in the U.S. East Coast.
In 1915, Vaishno Das Bagai and his family immigrated to the U.S. through Angel Island, after a long sojourn from India. But in the decade that followed, Bagai became bitterly disappointed with his adopted homeland. This is the tragic story of what happened.
The son of a Maharaja’s doctor, John Mohammad Ali immigrated to the US, where he became a successful business owner in the booming Detroit of the 1920s. After a change in naturalization laws, Ali was caught in a court battle where he discussed his appearance, genealogy, and conversion to Christianity to prove his eligibility for citizenship. Read more.
With Uncle Sam, Vijay Prashad has extended the arguments of The Karma of Brown Folk and provided a framework to imagine a politics of solidarity.
A critical look at Vinay Lal's history of South Asians in America, The Other Indians
In his latest book, Nayan Shah finds meaning in the everyday encounters and life events of South Asian migrants in the early 20th century.