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Kokila Bahadur Oral History Interview

Kokila Bahadur, a retired registered nurse, speaks with her niece Gaiutra about coming to America alone in her late twenties, when she was a married mother of two. She came as a nurse trainee at the Jersey City Medical Center in 1966, the year of Guyana's independence. At the age of 81, Kokila Bahadur looks back at her life in Guiana as a midwife at work on a sugar estate and the violence against women that she witnessed. She also remembers the dormitory for foreign nurses which was her first home here. Describing it as "the world in one place," she reflects on her relationships with the other women there, mainly from the Phillipines, Kerala and the West Indies. The first in the Bahadur family to immigrate, Kokila Bahadur sponsored her husband, children and many dozens of other relatives, including the interviewer and her parents, through provisions of the 1965 Hart-Cellar Act, the immigration law that profoundly changed the demographics of the United States.

Kokila Bahadur trained as a nurse and midwife in British Guiana. This is a photograph of her in her nursing uniform, taken in Guiana in 1964.

Duration: 00:44:07

Date: December 19, 2019
Subject(s): Kokila Bahadur
Type: Oral History
Source: Archival Creators Fellowship Program
Creator: Gaiutra Bahadur
Location: Jersey City, NJ

Collection: Gaiutra Bahadur Fellowship Project
Donor: Kokila Bahadur
Digitizer: Gaiutra Bahadur
Item History: 2020-08-24 (created); 2020-08-24 (modified)

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