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00:00:24 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Interview with Ms. Abolaji Amosu.

Segment Synopsis: The interview begins at Northeast Regional Library in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The interviewer says both his and Amosu's names. Amosu notes her age to the interviewer.

Keywords: Nigerian immigration; Northeast Regional Library

GPS: Northeast Regional Library
Map Coordinates: 40.050535, -75.061279
00:01:18 - Nigeria as her homeland / Ethnicity

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Partial Transcript: Where did your family come from?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu says that her family originally lived in Lagos, Nigeria. Also, she explains that her African ethnicity is Yoruba, one of the main/populous ethnic groups in Nigeria. Finally, she explains how her father is originally from Benin, but speaks Yoruba.

Keywords: Africa; Age; Benin; Ethnicity; Homeland; Lagos, Nigeria; Yoruba

Subjects: Families.; Lagos (Nigeria)

GPS: The city of Lagos, Nigeria, home city of Amosu's family.
Map Coordinates: 6.547324, 3.300445
00:03:00 - Why her family left Nigeria

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Partial Transcript: Why did your family come over?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recalls how, at age six, her uncle registered for the Diversity Visa Lottery, which stipulates that annually a certain number of applicants will win a United States Permanent Resident Card. Her family won the lottery, which allowed foreign residents to immigrate to America. She also explains that the trip to America wasn't planned due to challenges in her homeland, but instead an opportunity for immigration to a new country. Her family was wealthy, what she describes as “higher middle class,” and her father wanted the family to embark on a new adventure in life, while Amosu believed the family was on vacation.

Keywords: Diversity Immigration Visa; Family; Immigration; Permanent residents

Subjects: Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants

00:04:17 - Childhood in Nigeria / Graduation party

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Partial Transcript: Could you recall any part of your childhood in Nigeria?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu remembers her 3rd grade graduation party on a yacht when she was around age 5. Despite the occasion, Amosu refused to listen to her mother's warnings and fell into the water, spending the rest of the night sitting down as punishment.

Keywords: Celebrations; Childhood; Private education

Subjects: Families.; Lagos (Nigeria)

00:05:29 - Naming ceremony and getting lost as a child

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Partial Transcript: So, do you remember any other social gatherings or--

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recounts her brother's naming ceremony in Nigeria which celebrated his birth. She explains that it's a part of her culture's tradition to choose names for their meaning rather than for how the name sounds. She explains that her name means "Woke up with wealth." She shares the meanings of the names of her sisters as well. She also remembers the ceremony involved a huge celebration in the form of a block party. During the party, Amosu followed her older cousin until she lost her way, later found by her neighbor, and was sent to her room.

Keywords: Celebrations; Naming ceremony; Nigerian culture; Nigerian traditions; Rituals

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Lagos (Nigeria)

00:08:43 - Family size / Characteristics

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Partial Transcript: So how big is your family?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recalls that three of her siblings were born in Nigeria, and her youngest sister was born in America. She also describes in detail what each member of her family looks like, saying that she and her siblings are variations of their parents; she resembles her father due to their shared "mahogany" skin tone.

Keywords: Familial relations; Family size; Skin tones

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Lagos (Nigeria)

00:10:38 - Food traditions

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Partial Transcript: Would you happen to have a food tradition?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu describes in detail the food tradition and culture of the Yoruba ethnic group in Nigeria, including eba, afang soup, and various grains. She describes eba as a paste made from the cassava root. She recalls her family's version of jollof rice, in which the rice cooks in a seasoned tomato soup until done. She comments that the longer the jollof rice cooks in the soup, the better the meal will be.

Keywords: Afang soup; Cassava; Cultures; Eba; Food traditions; Fried rice; Jollof rice; Regional food competitions; Spinach; Yuroba

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Food habits; Lagos (Nigeria)

00:14:22 - Eating together / Cultural hybrid cuisine

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Partial Transcript: Uh, how does, uh, how does the average kitchen table go in your family?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu notes that when she and her siblings were younger, it was easier to come together to have family meals. Now, due to everyone having their own schedules, it's much harder to sit down and eat together. She also describes that her mother decides what will be on the dinner table, determinant on how she feels or craves. Amosu notes that her food preferences for Yoruba or American cuisine vary from day to day. Her youngest sister only grew up in the United States, so they acquiesce to some of her “American” food preferences, like adding hot dogs to fried rice because she does not like beef. Amosu describes how she thinks taste for food changes as her family combines American and Nigerian cuisines.

Keywords: Cooking; Family; Family meals; Food

Subjects: Childhood; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Food habits; Immigrants; Lagos (Nigeria)

00:18:50 - Nigerian music and influences

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Partial Transcript: What sort of music do you like?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recalls that her musical preferences in Yoruba music came from her mother during her childhood, although she also listens to contemporary Yoruba music. Contemporary Yoruba music resembles R&B, while older songs use drums and flutes, allowing the listener to focus more on the story in the lyrics. Amosu utilizes this music in order to write stories of her own as a means to draw inspiration or meaning to her words.

Keywords: "Ife Eji Owuro"; Cultures; Musical traditions; Nigerian music; Songs; Yuroba music

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Lagos (Nigeria)

00:22:06 - Americanization through music

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Partial Transcript: I think when we first came here, listening to a lot of like Disney Channel music and all--Nickelodeon music, I think a lot of this help me feel more quote unquote American than like being in school did.

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recalls that when her family arrived in America, the music of TV channels like Disney and Nickelodeon allowed for her to feel American. When her school didn't provide the satisfactory assimilation of her culture, music allowed her to adjust to American culture and her fellow classmates. So music served a crucial function in her growing up in America.

Keywords: Americanization; Immigration; Music

Subjects: Childhood; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants

00:22:51 - Transition from Nigerian to American school

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Partial Transcript: When did you start school?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu remembers that everyone starts school around age one or two in Nigeria in order to socialize children. Because of this early start she was ready for third grade upon immigration, but she was seven years old, much younger than third graders in the United States, so the school wanted to put her in first grade. Her father had to convince the school that African schooling was not inferior to American, and demanded that his children take a test to pass into the correct grade. Amosu recalls being bored and falling asleep because she had to repeat things that she had already learned. The school made Amosu repeat the third grade again.

Keywords: African stereotyping; American education; Childhood; Education; Nigerian education; Stereotypes

Subjects: Childhood; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Lagos (Nigeria)

00:27:59 - First day in America and the perception of the United States

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Partial Transcript: Going back to your arrival to the United States, uh, could you recall your first day?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recalls her first day in America when she was six years old. She thought the trip to America was a vacation, especially when the plane landed in Philadelphia Airport. She saw snow on the first day—knowing what it was from Disney films—but did not know how cold it would be. Her family's friend allowed them to stay at his home while they searched for an apartment of their own. Amosu knew what America was based on the movies she watched, but she never thought of the nation.

Keywords: First day; Immigration journey; Philadelphia (Pa.); Social networks

Subjects: Childhood; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants

GPS: Philadelphia International Airport
Map Coordinates: 39.874594, -75.242638
00:31:56 - Leaving things in Nigeria / First meal in America

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Partial Transcript: Uh, were there any conundrums besides the, uh, difficulty with, uh, housing?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recalls being disappointed that her family wasn’t able to bring their dog along. Her first meal was the familiar Yoruba food composed of jollof rice, soup, and eba.

Keywords: First meals; Immigration journey; Leaving Nigeria; Yoruba

Subjects: Childhood; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Lagos (Nigeria); Philadelphia (Pa.)

00:33:42 - Parents finding work

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Partial Transcript: So, after your parents settled, um, how did they find work?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu remembers that although her father was highly educated, he had to repeat some education to become a child psychologist. Similarly, Amosu's mother, previously a Nigerian nurse, had to work as a hotel housekeeper and as an attendant in a nursing home because she did not have a college education. She now is in school and works as a nurse. Amosu believes that her parents finding work depended on their connections with the neighborhood or places that employ their skill sets. Having connections helped her parents find work.

Keywords: Adult immigrant education; Employment; Job hunting; Social connections

Subjects: Childhood; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Occupations; Philadelphia (Pa.)

00:35:41 - First house

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Partial Transcript: Uh, so where did you settle?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recounts her family's first home in Philadelphia being an apartment on Champlost Ave., four blocks from Fern Rock Train Station in North Philadelphia. Her home was a two bedroom apartment with a combined living room and apartment. She notes that her mother used plenty of Febreze air freshener in conjunction with plug-in wall air fresheners.

Keywords: Champlost Ave; Febreze; Fern Rock Train Station

Subjects: Childhood; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Philadelphia (Pa.)

GPS: Champlost Avenue
Map Coordinates: 40.044462, -75.143781
00:37:58 - Exploring and connecting to Philadelphia

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Partial Transcript: How did your family explore Philadelphia?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu notes that her family went on expeditions across the Philadelphia area to explore their new home. In order to adjust to life in Philadelphia, the family went to places including Dorney Park or Center City to become familiar with their new city. The family asked around for recommendations from friends in their social circle to learn what places they wanted to go to and developed their own preferences.

Keywords: Center City (Philadelphia, Pa.); Dorney Park; Exploring; Old Country Buffet

Subjects: Childhood; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Philadelphia (Pa.)

GPS: Dorney Park Amusement Park
Map Coordinates: 40.580470, -75.534696
00:40:29 - Making friends and friend preferences

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Partial Transcript: How did your family establish connections within the--I want to say apartment complex because, you know--

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recalls her siblings and she finding the family's connections and social circle figures through their interaction with other children. Her apartment complex served as a miniature neighborhood and the children formed friendships and then introduced the parents to each other. Amosu notes that some of her neighbors were immigrants, including a couple “Spanish” families (Puerto Rican) and connected through kindness and their children going to the same school and apartment. Her family preferred other Nigerian immigrants as friends because they shared a worldview. She remembers that she preferred to listen to other people with accents, since she also had an accent.

Keywords: Apartments; Connections; Friendships; Julia Ward Howe School (Philadelphia, Pa.); Neighborhoods; Social networks; Socializing

Subjects: Childhood; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Philadelphia (Pa.)

00:43:22 - Losing her accent and fitting in during elementary school

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Partial Transcript: How did you lose your accents?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu explains that, over her time spent in America, she lost her formal British accent in order to adjust to her peers' own dialect. Although her British-like Nigerian accent was formal, her peers didn't understand her. Thus, around the fourth grade, Amosu tried to remove her accent to form friendships at school. Amosu recalls attending Julia Ward Howe School from third to fifth grade, which is close to the Fern Rock Septa Station. Although Amosu was frustrated that she had to repeat the third grade, she acknowledges it allowed her to better socialize and make friends. She recalls a friend by the name of Daniella or Danisha with whom she bonded over BRATZ dolls.

Keywords: Accents; Biro pens; British accents; Dialects; English language; Julia Ward Howe School (Philadelphia); Peer pressure; Socialization; Socializing

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Philadelphia (Pa.)

00:51:39 - Opinions on school subjects

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Partial Transcript: You said that your family expected high grades, correct?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recounts that she had issues in learning mathematics while in school. However, her parents encouraged her to keep studying the subject in order to overcome it, thus pushing her engrossment into the subject. Despite this, Amosu easily excelled and enjoyed subjects such as English and History as she loved the stories found in literature and history's continuation of its own story. She contributes her competitive nature in school to proving others wrong about her ethnicity, showing that she was an intelligent, capable individual who could achieve high academically.

Keywords: Education; Interests; Subjects

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Philadelphia (Pa.)

01:00:14 - Transition to middle school

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Partial Transcript: So, how was the tradi--transition to high school? Oh, from middle school to high school.

Segment Synopsis: Amosu remembers that after she graduated from elementary school, her family moved to the Northeast portion of Philadelphia. She attended Woodrow Wilson Middle School, where she found herself as the new kid in class. Being new, Amosu faced difficulties in making new friends, but devoted her attention to her studies. Amosu recalls that in middle school she didn't participate in many extracurricular activities. She found a literature club and new friends through her love for stories, but that was it.

Keywords: "New kid"; Education; Middle schools; Socializing; Solomon Solis-Cohen Elementary School (Philadelphia, Pa.); Transitions; Woodrow Wilson Middle School (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Philadelphia (Pa.)

GPS: Location of Woodrow Wilson Middle School
Map Coordinates: 40.052435, -75.069047
01:03:40 - Trying to suppress her African identity

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Partial Transcript: Did your identity ever come into--

Segment Synopsis: Amosu comments on how she dealt with her identity as an Nigerian immigrant during school. She remembers wanting a nickname, trying to curse, dressing, and using slang like an American in order to fit in better, yet she maintained an African identity at home with her family. Amosu remembers that she tried to suppress her African identity to distance herself from a stereotypes, like that Africans lived in huts and did not wear clothes. She also did not want to be the token “African” to her classmates. She chose clothing, make-up, and hair styles that made her seem more American, and she and her sister coached each other on how to act. By high school, she finally embraced her identity and accepted the fact that she would never be a full American.

Keywords: African culture; African history; American dress; Americanization; Coaching; Cultural identity; Cultures; Education; Identity; Make-up; Nicknames; South Park

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Philadelphia (Pa.)

01:12:16 - Transition to high school

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Partial Transcript: How was the transition to high school then?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recounts her transition to Northeast High School was one where she retained her friend/peer group, but realized how hard it was to be a freshman after ruling the middle school in eighth grade. She looked up to the older students, especially the seniors because she thought of them as close to adults. However, despite entering the high school together, Amosu's friends changed, finding different friend groups due to differing schedules. She also had to train new friends and teachers to correctly pronounce her name, which was almost always the first alphabetically on the role list.

Keywords: Education; High schools; Northeast High School (Philadelphia, Pa.); Woodrow Wilson Middle School (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Philadelphia (Pa.)

GPS: Northeast Regional High School
Map Coordinates: 40.056847, -75.069118
01:17:27 - Technology in education / Education programs available to students

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Partial Transcript: Uh, another thing about me is that, uh, I grew up in Delco and I go to--went to Ridley Township or Ridley High School and, uh, thankfully, uh, Boeing pretty much donated a bunch of iPads--

Segment Synopsis: Amosu remembers that her school utilized technology in their curriculum, but they didn't trust or allow freshmen to carry or use their laptops. Also, she recalls that there were three tracked programs in Northeast High School based on their academic excellence: Magnet, International Baccalaureate, and Avid. She had not applied for the Magnet program, because she did not know to do so, even though she excelled at school. Amosu notes how technology in education allowed her to access new information and involved her classes using games like Kahoot.

Keywords: Computers; Curriculum; Education; High schools; Northeast Avid program; Northeast International Baccalaureate program; Northeast Magnet Program; Technology

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Emigration and immigration.; Immigrants; Philadelphia (Pa.)

01:26:07 - Selecting a college / Attending Temple University

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Partial Transcript: Uh, throughout high school, did you, uh, look at colleges?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recalls that, during her junior and senior years, she began to investigate in-state colleges including Holy Family University, University of Pennsylvania, and Temple University. Due to the closeness of the campus to her home and its well regarded English department, Amosu chose Temple, where she entered as "undecided." This allowed her to explore different subject paths, and she ended up selecting an English major. Amosu notes being empowered by college by allowing her to schedule her own classes based on what she wanted to pursue. In her time at Temple University, she found two notable professors which bolstered her desire to learn: Dr. Tristen Samuels and Clarissa Howards.

Keywords: College life; College of Liberal Arts, Temple University; Colleges; Family; Finances; Holy Family University; Penn State University

Subjects: College choice; College environment; College students--Social conditions; Education; Families.; Immigrants; Philadelphia (Pa.); Universities and colleges.

GPS: Temple University of Pennsylvania
Map Coordinates: 39.981122, -75.155432
01:31:27 - Expectation to attend college / Finances

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Partial Transcript: So what drew you to attend college, specifically?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu recounts that, due to her family's history with being highly educated, it was a familial expectation to go to college. Along with societal expectations for her to attend college, her education enforced this throughout her years in school, making it seem like college was the only option. She reflects on how tuition costs affected her choice to go to Temple University. She mentions the opportunities such as study-abroad programs offered at Temple compared to more expensive universities.

Keywords: Colleges; Drexel University; Holy Family University; STEM; Social expectations; Temple University; Tuition

Subjects: College choice; College environment; College students--Social conditions; Education; Families.; Immigrants; Philadelphia (Pa.); Universities and colleges.

01:36:00 - Jobs

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Partial Transcript: Did you have a job during high school?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu never had to get a job during high school. Instead, she got money from her parents through request or allowance. However, she found a work-study job through the Free Library of Philadelphia partnership with Temple University at the Northeast Regional Library. She loves working with books.

Keywords: First job; Free Library of Philadelphia; Jobs; Northeast Regional Library; Work study

Subjects: College environment; College students--Social conditions; Education; Employment; Families.; Immigrants; Occupations; Philadelphia (Pa.); Universities and colleges.

01:38:04 - Oral history project / Advice for other immigrants

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Partial Transcript: So how did you come across the, uh, oral history pr--uh, project?

Segment Synopsis: Amosu remembers that her supervisor at Northeast Regional Library introduced her to this oral history project after looking for immigrant patrons to tell their life stories. At first, she was reluctant to participate because she doubted her childhood memories were worth recording. Despite this, Amosu chose to participate in the project. Amosu concludes that recent immigrants shouldn't abandon or neglect their homeland's culture or language, because the language is an advantage and enables college students not to study a second language if they choose not to.

Keywords: Americanization; Child's perspective; Foreign languages; Immigration; Northeast Regional Library; Oral history

Subjects: Emigration and immigration.; Immigrants; Philadelphia (Pa.)