African American Studies


Dr. Jane Edward interviewed Veralyn Williams on May 5, 2007. Veralyn was born in Sierra Leonie in 1985 right before war broke out in the country. Her parents thus immigrated to the United States, Harlem. After about a year of living in the Harlem, they moved to the Bronx and have lived there ever since.

Veralyn recalls a happy childhood. She lived in a multiethnic community. Though Veralyn was born in Sierra Leone, she says she is mostly connected to her American roots. Apart from the food her mother cooks and other indications of culture she experienced in her house, she wasn’t open and accepting about her background. Veralyn says this was a defense mechanism to prevent bullying. However, she eventfully began to claim her culture and nationality as she grew.

Veralyn goes on to discuss the lengthy citizenship and green card process. She was not a legal resident all throughout high school and didn’t get her green card until college. Her illegal residency situation made her unable to apply for certain grants and scholarships. Therefore, though her parents are not rich, they had to pay for college completely out of pocket.

Not going to college was never an option for Veralyn. She comes from an educated family with successful and financially stable family members. She talks about the importance of education to her parents and the rest of her family.

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Williams, Veralyn.mp3 (55399 kB)