Interview with Richard "Rip" Sparks, August 11, 2021

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

Interview Summary

Richard “Rip” Sparks served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nigeria, from 1964 through 1966, in the Education Program. Richard was inspired by John F. Kennedy. He shares a poignant recollection of JFK’s inauguration speech, a later address he gave at Amherst College days before his assassination, and a memorial address by the President of the College on the night of the assassination. Rip was willing to be assigned anywhere, and was excited when invited for Nigeria 11. Training at Barnard College in New York included Yoruba and Igbo languages, taught by Nigerian students. The opportunity to meet Nigerians and returned volunteers, and to attend Nigerian cultural events, were high points of training. Richard was assigned to teach science at the Methodist Higher Elementary Training College in Uzuakoli, in the Eastern Region. The interview discusses his life at the school; interactions with staff and students; and travels in Africa. Shortly before the end of his service, Peace Corps evacuated all volunteers due to the Biafran-Nigerian Civil War. Rip married a fellow volunteer, and one of their daughters served in Peace Corps Morocco.

Interview Accession

2021oh0741_pcrv0352

Interviewee Name

Richard "Rip" Sparks

Interviewer Name

Julius "Jay" Sztuk

Interview Date

2021-08-11

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Sparks, Richard Interview by Julius Sztuk. 11 Aug. 2021. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Sparks, R. (2021, August 11). Interview by J. Sztuk. Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Sparks, Richard, interview by Julius Sztuk. August 11, 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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