Stop in at a motel anywhere in the U.S., and you are likely to find an Indian-American family at the helm of it. At least half of America’s motels are owned by Indian-Americans, and 70 percent of these are owned by people from the same region of India—Gujarat, a state on the nation’s northwest coast. Since the 1940s, Indian-Americans have built a sprawling network of motels across the U.S., laying down roots and bringing in their extended families, generation after generation.
The contributions of these immigrant entrepreneurs are explored in the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s new exhibition, “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation,” which is now open at the Natural History Museum. (x)