Thanks to a collaboration with South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA), the only independent non-profit organization working to document, preserve and provide access to the rich history of South Asians in the United States, we’re delighted to share an original image every Monday.
Today’s feature — a photograph of Bhagat Singh Thind and his wife, Vivian Davies. In 1923, Thind, a World War I vet, fought for the right to become a naturalized American citizen in a case that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
At the time he applied, only “free white men” were eligible for naturalization. In 1923, the Court ruled against giving Thind the right to American citizenship, finding that he was not Caucasian “in the common man’s understanding of the term.”
Thind finally became a U.S. Citizen in 1936, after Congress passed a special law giving World War I vets, even those who emigrated from what was then described as “barred zones”, the right to naturalization. You can find the full case online here.