Judy Rogers Returns to Dickinson, Speaks About Sierra Leone Trip

September 26, 1963

Dickinson junior Judy Rogers, after spending the summer in Sierra Leone as part of the Operation Crossroads Africa (OCA) program, shared her experiences with her classmates and local communities.

Rogers remarked on the similarities between African cities and American cities, and her own intimate participation in Sierra Leonean culture: students were expected to live as the local people did, eating their food and donning traditional dress when appropriate.

Rogers also briefly remarked on the disparities in experiences between the white students and herself (as an African American student.) Rogers felt that they "did have different viewpoints," referring to the fact that the white students had most likely never lived with so many non-white people. For Rogers,"it appeared that [she] was more readily accepted" because of her race.

In addition to race, language, Rogers noted, was also a barrier for the American students. Though speaking with university students was easy (because of their fluency in English) communication in the provinces was more difficult. Perhaps it is also interesting to note that the OCA volunteers spent a great deal of time in Freetown, Sierra Leone, a city settled by former African slaves from the Americas who began returning to the continent in 1787. This particular subset of the population, Rogers noted, spoke a sort of "pigeon English - very familiar but something you couldn't understand."

Rogers also said that she hoped to travel to the Eastern part of the continent someday to do similar work.

Location of Document in Archives
Judith Rogers, Student Dropfile