- Oral Histories of the American South: The Civil Rights Movement
- Oral history interview with Kanwal Rahman, July 15, 1999
- Rahman, Kanwal
- Contributor to Resource:
- Bhandari, Rajika
Southern Oral History Program
- Date of Original:
- Bangladeshi Americans--North Carolina--Chapel Hill
Women immigrants--North Carolina--Chapel Hill
Bangladeshi Americans--Cultural assimilation--North Carolina--Chapel Hill
Autonomy (Psychology)--United States
- Rahman, Kanwal
- United States, North Carolina, Orange County, 36.0613, -79.1206
United States, North Carolina, Orange County, Chapel Hill, 35.9132, -79.05584
oral histories (literary works)
- Kanwal Rahman left Bangladesh for the United States in 1991, looking forward to earning a public health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The second thoughts she had as soon as she got on the plane were compounded by her workload; feeling alone and overworked, she wanted at once to return home. She stayed on, however, determined to prove her worth and hopeful that she might use her success to benefit her home country. Eight years later, at the time of this interview, Rahman has found her niche, and some good friends, in the Chapel Hill area. But she has not lost that sense of connection with Bangladesh, and feels acutely the sense of separation from her family there. In this interview, she reflects on her experience and her efforts at adjustment. One of the most difficult adjustments to make was embracing the American ethic of independence, the opposite of the interdependent, even dependent, posture she learned as one of five daughters of a very successful father. In making this adjustment, Rahman uncovered hidden strengths, but concedes, too, that she worries for her future as a single Asian woman in America. This concern dramatizes her enduring connection to Bangladeshi culture and the way in which assimilation challenges the core of at least one immigrant's sense of self.
The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the aggregation and enhancement of partner metadata.
- Metadata URL:
- Title from menu page (viewed on Nov. 25, 2008).
Interview participants: Kanwal Rahman, interviewee; Rajika Bhandari, interviewer.
This electronic edition is part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South. It is a part of the collection Oral histories of the American South.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner. Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers.
- Contributing Institution:
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documenting the American South (Project)