BengaliHarlem

Bengali Harlem is an ongoing project by filmmaker and scholar Vivek Bald using different media – web, print, and video – to document the histories of two little-known groups of early South Asian migrants to the United States. Both were groups of Muslim men, predominantly from the region of Bengal, who entered the U.S. between the 1880s and the 1940s.

Bengaliharlem.com serves as an introduction to these histories, as a place to explore video and audio interviews and digitized archival materials, and most importantly, as an unfolding project of social history and personal memory – where the descendants of Muslim peddlers and seamen from the subcontinent and their African American and Latina partners and wives can share the stories of their families and communities.

The other parts of the project are a book, entitled Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America, published by Harvard University Press in 2013, and a feature length documentary film, produced in collaboration with the writer and actor Alaudin “Aladdin” Ullah, entitled “In Search of Bengali Harlem.”