Project SummaryThis is a collection of interviews conducted by Jack and Angene Wilson, former Peace Corps volunteers and authors of "Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers." (University Press of Kentucky, 2011)
Between 1990 and 2011 the foreign-born population in Kentucky grew from 34,119 to 140, 433. The number born in Africa grew from 1,007 to 12,982. The most recent figures (2016) from the Migration Policy Institute state that more than 19,000 individuals born in Africa now live in Kentucky. In contrast to the 1970s and 1980s when students from African countries came to colleges and universities and often took their degrees back home, from 1990 on individuals more often came from African countries as part of the diversity lottery or as family members or as refugees (Lexington hosts one of the largest numbers of refugees from the Congo in the country). Or they came for education and stayed in the U.S. for better economic opportunities.
These African Immigrants are part of Kentucky's history, and through this series of interviews, many of their voices are now part of Kentucky's story. Each interview is filled with tales of how they came to Kentucky, and why; who they left behind or who they brought with them; reminiscences of their homelands, and how their journeys have unfolded in a new country and new culture.