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Fiona Gardner and Uche Nduka
Oral history interview conducted by Charis Shafer
June 05, 2013
Call number: 2011.019.048
CHARIS SHAFER: So, this is Charis Shafer and I am here with Fiona Gardner andUche Nduka, and this is an interview for the Brooklyn Historical Society. And Fiona, we've known each other for a while, but I do want to ask you a little bit about, maybe, your early life. And Uche, you too, about your early life, and if you want to start wherever you feel comfortable starting and launch into it --
FIONA GARDNER: Sure.
CHARIS SHAFER: -- and eventually we'll get to how you two met (laughs).
FIONA GARDNER: Um, all right, so what do you want to know about our -- want, uh,in terms of, like, our early life, like is there, like, some kind of format, I mean--
CHARIS SHAFER: Sure. So can you tell me where you born, and where you grew up?
FIONA GARDNER: Yes. I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1976 (laughs), um,and my parents, I guess, could say, like, just in terms of this project -- I know this project is about intercultural, right -- 1:00
CHARIS SHAFER: Mm-hmm.FIONA GARDNER: -- kind o 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 7:00 8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00 24:00 25:00 26:00 27:00 28:00 29:00 30:00 31:00 32:00 33:00 34:00 35:00 36:00 37:00 38:00 39:00 40:00 41:00 42:00 43:00 44:00 45:00 46:00 47:00 48:00 49:00 50:00 51:00 52:00 53:00 54:00 55:00 56:00 57:00 58:00 59:00 60:00 61:00 62:00 63:00 64:00 65:00 66:00 67:00 68:00 69:00 70:00
0:09 - Introduction and Fiona's background
5:45 - Uche's childhood and experiences during the Nigerian Civil War
16:32 - Fiona's adolescence in Minnesota and relationship with religion
20:45 - Fiona's move to Providence, Rhode Island
26:11 - Uche's adolescence and family history
31:47 - Uche's university years and activism
43:00 - Fiona's move to Boston and New York City
49:45 - Uche's time in Germany and settling in Brooklyn
57:59 - Fiona and Uche's courtship
61:53 - Reconciling cultural differences and conclusion
Oral History Interview with Fiona Gardner and Uche Nduka
Fiona Gardner was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her mother is descended from Romanian Jews and Germans, and her father's family has roots in the United States dating back to the American Revolution. Gardner was raised in an observant Jewish household. She became involved in the arts during her childhood andshe attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island for a B.A. in painting. Gardner lived in Boston for three years before moving to New York City to attend Columbia University for a graduate degree in the visual arts.
Uche Nduka was born and raised in Umuahia, Nigeria. His family is Igbo and he was a child during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1970. He studied literature and history at the University of Nigeria and worked as a freelance journalist. He lived in Bremen, Germany and Amsterdam, Holland for about twelve years, and then moved to the United States in 2007. He lived in Brooklyn and attended Long Island University for an M.F.A. in creative writing.
In this interview, Nduka speaks extensively about growing up in Nigeria, particularly in relation to the civil war and the genocide of the Igbo people. He also discusses the British influence on Nigeria. Gardner talks about her early life, particularly regarding religion and also her experiences in college.. Additionally, both Nduka and Gardner discuss their early experiences living in New York and their courtship.
CitationGardner, Fiona | Nduka, Uche, Oral history interview conducted by Charis Shafer, June 05, 2013, Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations oral history collection, 2011.019.048; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Gardner, Fiona
- Nduka, Uche
- Igbo (African people)
- Interracial dating
- Nigeria -- History -- Civil War, 1967-1970
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- Saint Paul (Minn.)
- United States
Finding AidCrossing Borders, Bridging Generations oral history collection