Browse Exhibits (22 total)

Abolaji Amosu

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Born in Lagos Nigeria in 2000, Abolaji Amosu grew up in an upper-middle-class family of six. After her father convinced her mother to experience a new life in the United States, the family arrived in Philadelphia in 2006. Forced to repeat the third grade, Amosu pushed herself to defy stereotypes associated with Africans and excelled in her studies. In her interview, Amosu describes growing up in America as a Nigerian immigrant, how she struggled with her cultural identity, and how both impacted her studies and social life.  

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Algassimu Bah

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Algassimu Bah (b.1986) was a young child when his family fled the violent civil war that broke out in Liberia in 1989. Bah's family moved to Senegal and then Gambia before his father, who had worked for the American embassy, was able to move the family to the United States when Bah was eleven years old. When they were about to leave, people were really nice to them, because they wanted them not to forget about them when they arrived. After a brief stay in Philadelphia with relatives, the family moved to Detroit, Michigan.

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Armand DiStefano

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Armand DiStefano (1912-1987), the son of Italian immigrants, grew up in a small row house in South Philadelphia. There his father instilled in him the value of hard work and a love of opera.  In his 1984 interview, DiStefano shared the story of how his father opened a record stop in 1917 and then converted it to a restaurant during the Great Depression. Today, The Victor Cafe still operates at 1303 Dickinson Street, and the wait staff still sings opera to dining patrons.

Bangde "Annie" Fu

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Bangde “Annie” Fu (b. 1998) grew up in a small town in Guangxi, China. In search of a better life, Fu moved with her mother to the United States to join her father. Once in Philadelphia, Annie was immersed in a whole new world, which she welcomed with open arms. In this interview Fu discusses how she overcame many obstacles, including language barriers, new forms of education, life amongst people who were very different from people back home, and the everyday struggles of growing up.

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Bertha Gruenberg

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Born in Austria, Bertha (Sanford) Gruenberg (1888-1987) moved with her family to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1893 and then to Philadelphia in 1910. There, she and her husband volunteered at two settlement houses, joined the Philadelphia Ethical Society, and became involved in the women's suffrage movement. In her 1982 interview, Gruenberg shared her observations of Philadelphians, both rich and poor, and told about her participation in the suffrage movement and how in 1916 she helped stage the first Women’s Birth Control League meeting in Philadelphia. 

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Catherine Ehrmann

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Catherine Ehrmann came with her family from Hungary to Philadelphia in 1904, when she was two years old. She grew up right around the corner from the Stetson Hat Company in the Kensington neighborhood. In 1916, at the age of 14, she began to work at Stetson, and stopped working there when she married at the age of 21. In her July 1982 interview Ehrmann talked about her time as a Stetson employee and how she married against her Old World father's wishes.

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David Kaplan

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David Kaplan (born c. 1889) was born in a Russian village to a Jewish family. With his father in America, Kaplan had to work as a child to support his family. Fearing military conscription he fled Russia in 1911 and immigrated to Philadelphia. In 1946, after decades of financial struggle. Kaplan found a steady job in the clothing industry and retired with a pension at the age of 77.

Dennis Clark

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Dennis Clark (1927-1993) grew up in the Kensington neighborhood of north Philadelphia during the Great Depression. A glazer by profession, Clark's father could rarely find employment during the 1930s, so the family struggled to afford rent or food and moved from one row house to the next to avoid the rent collector. Clark went on to get his doctorate in history at Temple University and to write histories of the Irish in Philadelphia. In his two 1982 interviews, Clark shared memories of his childhood in an Irish community and a history of Kensington's shops and mills. 

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Dilmohan "Dale" Grewal

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Born in Shimla, India in 1955, Dilmohan "Dale" Grewal moved to Nigeria in 1970, then to England and Canada, before immigrating to the United States in 1976, where he finished his education, built a family, and pursued a career in banking. In his interview, Grewal reflects on his life on four continents.

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Enitan Aigbomian

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Enitan “Enni” Aigbomian (b.1992) was born in Lagos, Nigeria to a family of six. When she was five, her mother moved to the United States. Three years later, Enitan was ecstatic when she was able to rejoin her in the United States. Life in Queens, New York, and then in the suburbs of Philadelphia, however, presented challenges as well as opportunities. As a teenager, Enitan battled to find her own unique identity as both a Nigerian and an American.

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