Title: Oral History Interview with Patience Dadzie, October 21, 2001. Interview R-0156.
Interviewer: Copeland, Barbara
Interviewee: Dadzie, Patience
Abstract: Patience Dadzie immigrated from Ghana to the United States of America in 1991, settling in North Carolina with her husband and their children. Dadzie begins the interview with a discussion of her life in Ghana. In addition to discussing her own family background, Dadzie speaks at considerable length about Ghanaian marriage customs such as polygamy and the traditional purposes of a woman's dowry. From there, Dadzie shifts to a discussion of religion, describing her own conversion to Mormonism in the late 1980s. Raised as a Presbyterian, Dadzie was introduced to Mormonism by white missionaries and found its emphasis on family and direct participation of church members appealing. Dadzie continued to practice Mormonism when she settled in North Carolina with her husband; she addresses various aspects of Mormonism in the American South. Arguing that there were few differences from the practice of Mormonism in Ghana and in the United States, Dadzie emphasizes the centrality of family throughout the interview. In particular, Dadzie focuses on callings for women, describing her own experiences with visiting, teaching young women's groups, and practices such as baptism of the dead and family sealing. Researchers will be particularly interested in Dadzie's discussion of issues of race within the Mormon Church. Dadzie exlains that she was never cognizant of issues of race within the Mormon Church until she moved to North Carolina: she converted to Mormonism in Ghana, where the Church was dominated by black Africans. Her comments throughout the interview are revealing of tensions and intersections between gender, race, and religion against the backdrop of the rapid growth of the Mormon Church in the American South during the 1990s.