Interview with Henry Der, June 3, 2021

Project: Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project

Interview Summary

Henry Der served as a Peace Corps Agriculture and Community Development volunteer in Kenya from 1968-1970. As a teenager in Stockton, California, he was inspired by JFK and the civil rights and African independence movements to join the Peace Corps after college. At Stanford he took a Swahili class which prepared him for his service in Kenya. After two and a half months of training in Bismarck, North Dakota, his first site was in Kilifi on the Kenyan coast, where institutional neglect had weakened the agricultural sector. His second site was in Machakos, working with the 4K clubs which offered school-aged farmers technical support and camaraderie. As a Swahili-speaking Chinese-American, he was sometimes mistaken for African-American, but Kenyans were more interested in domestic land reform and politics than his ethnicity. After Peace Corps, he joined his mother in San Francisco’s Chinatown to teach ESL and then worked for a civil rights organization supporting the Chinese community, while maintaining contacts with RPCVs (returned Peace Corps volunteers) and international volunteers who he knew in Machakos.

Interview Accession

2021oh0469_pcrv0252

Interviewee Name

Henry Der

Interviewer Name

Craig Tower

Interview Date

2021-06-03

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Der, Henry Interview by Craig Tower. 03 Jun. 2021. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Der, H. (2021, June 03). Interview by C. Tower. Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Der, Henry, interview by Craig Tower. June 03, 2021, Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





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