Experiences of Immigration to the U.S.
Summary: Marygrove College student Tracee Anderson interviews Bardha Caka (Barbara) about her experiences moving to the United States from Albania. Barbara talks about the lottery and how she came to America. Ms. Caka goes on to speak about Communism in Albania, her journey to the United States, and how she learned English by watching television.
Summary: Dr. Pao Yu Ching Chou was born in Beijing, China, the oldest of three children. Though of royal descent (Qing dynasty), her father grew up an impoverished orphan; her mother was a very wealthy member of the Han majority. Dr. Chou's early life was influenced by the 1911 and 1949 revolutions in China, by the tension over finances between her parents, and by the rise of communism. After graduating first in her class with an economics degree, she received a scholarship to attend graduate school at Bryn Mawr. There she was struck by the gap between her expectations of the United States (as an ideal, democratic country of equality) and the realities exposed by the civil rights movement. Dr. Chou married, and continued to work while completing her PhD dissertation on inequities in milk production and government subsidies. For a long period, China's importance in her life was minimal, but now China and the rest of the world have become a major interest. She says, "I think I’ve become a Marxist. I have to throw away everything I learned in graduate school...The hardest thing is to clean up bourgeois economics. Clean it up and relearn."
Summary: Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Mercedes Echevaria about her experiences coming to the United States from Cuba. Mercedes came to the United States via Mexico in 1968 when she was around ten years old with her mother and siblings. Mercedes' father came to the United States a few years before to find work earn enough money to bring his family.
Summary: Izzat Khapoya was born in Tanzania and raised in Mombasa, Kenya. She was the seventh of eight children born of Indian parents who were members of a small Muslim sect called Ismailis. She enjoyed a privileged childhood thanks to her father's successful scrap metal business. In 1965, a few years after Kenya gained independence, Ms. Khapoya's father moved the family to London. From there she enrolled at Foothill College in Los Altos, California, and then Oregon State University. She met her future husband Vincent at Oregon State. Because her husband was African he was not accepted by everyone in her family; her father was especially opposed to the marriage. She and Vincent eventually moved to Detroit so he could take a job at Oakland University; it was from OU that Ms. Khapoya earned her clinical psychology degree.
Summary: Dr. Khapoya talks about his early schooling and initiation rites when he was a 14 year old boy in Kenya. In the interview, he recounts his father's dedication to achieving an education for his children, including his sister who was not his sister, but his cousin. The continuity of tradition is noted in Dr. Khapoya's building a house for his mother, which is not his mother's house but his own house.
Summary: Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Nulca Lerebours about her experiences coming to the United States from Haiti. Nulca came to the United States in 1968 at age 26 with her husband. Nulca speaks about her journey from New York to Florida with her children, her involvement with the church and community, and how Haitians are living in Florida.
Marygrove College professor Dr. Chukwunyere Okezie was one of 10 siblings in his family's compound in Nigeria. After Zaira University in Nigeria was closed, he moved at the age of 22 to the United States to earn his undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Okezie married in 2001 and describes his growing family and academic life at Marygrove College.
Summary: Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Cosmae Perez about his experiences working the United States as a migrant. Cosmae was born in Mexico from Mexican American parents. After he quit school at the age of sixteen, Cosmae began to work - first locally and then as a migrant worker.
Summary: Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Esperanza Perez about her experiences coming to the United States from Mexico. Esperanza's mother crossed into Texas while pregnant and gave birth so that Esperanza would be registered as an American citizen. Esperanza lived in Mexico and immigrated to the Unites States when she was nine. Esperanza talks about migrant work and how she met her husband, Cosmae, and their family.
Summary: Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Freddie Rodriguez about his experiences coming to the United States from El Salvador. Freddie came to the United States in 1995 when he was seven years old with his siblings. Rodriguez's parents came illegally to the United States a few years before. In his first years in Florida, Freddie and his brothers were set apart by their language barrier, but they eventually overcame that obstacle.
Summary: Mr. Shakarnah was born in Bethlehem in the West Bank. He started to cook at an early age and was working as a chef in the Middle East. Mahar came to the United Stated for a visit in 1997. He traveled the country and eventually settled in Michigan to continue working as a chef.
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