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>>   Biographies Unpublished Articles
TAGS: Gender; Genealogy; Race (general); Slavery
LOCATIONS: Iran (documents); Yazd
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Abstract:
Issues of race, gender, slavery, and religion as experienced by an Afro-Iranian family in the 19th and 20th centuries; historiography of African women in Iran; the Herati-Khorasani family tree.
Notes:
Publication forthcoming (2022). Mirrored with permission from academia.edu. PDF below created from Microsoft Word document prepared by M. Thomas (2022).

Ziba Khanum of Yazd:
An Enslaved African Woman in Nineteenth-Century Iran

by Anthony Lee

2017
About: Ziba Khanum (d. 1932), an African woman, lived as a slave in the city of Yazd, in central Iran, in the second half of the nineteenth century. She bore her master a son. Ghulam-‘Ali (1871-1949), later known as Ghulam-‘Ali Siyah (the black). According to Islamic law (the shari’a), this would have changed Ziba Khanum’s legal status to umm-walad (mother of a son), meaning an enslaved concubine who cannot be sold and whose children are heirs to their father’s fortune. The master died in the late 1880s, when Ghulam-‘Ali was a teenager. For some reason, however, he inherited nothing from his father and soon left Yazd. Ziba Khanum remained in the household of her master after his passing as a dependent of the family. Ziba Khanum’s son became a successful merchant, traveling to Palestine, to India, and to Bandar Abbas in southern Iran. He returned to Yazd after some years as a wealthy and notable person. As a teenager Ghulam ‘Ali became a Baha’i, a member of a persecuted minority religion in Iran. Possibly his mother did also. Ziba Khanum lived in her son’s Baha’i household, after his return to Yazd, with his children and grandchildren until the end of her life. Some of the grandchildren now live in the United States and remember the oral history of the family. This article discusses issues of race, gender, slavery, and religion as experienced by an Afro-Iranian family in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The article makes the hopeful discovery that a history of African women in Iran is possible, even at the level of individual biographies. An examination of Ziba Khanum’s life, as well as the lives of other enslaved women in the household, can begin to fill the gaps in our knowledge of African slavery, as well as issues of race. religion, and assimilation in twentieth-century Iran. (from academia.edu)
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