Documenting the American South Logo
Collections >> Oral Histories of the American South >> Document Menu
Oral History Interview with Adetola Hassan, December 16, 2001. Interview R-0160. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
Audio with Transcript
  • Listen Online with Text Transcript (Requires QuickTime and JavaScript)
  • Transcript Only (35 p.)
  • HTML file
  • XML/TEI source file
  • Download Complete Audio File (MP3 format / ca. 208 MB, 01:53:36)
  • MP3
  • Abstract
    Adetola Hassan is a British citizen of Nigerian descent who grew up in Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria during the 1980s and early 1990s. She moved to the United States during the mid-1990s to live with her uncle in Missouri, and at the time of the interview in 2001 was a seventeen-year-old freshman at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Hassan begins the interview with a discussion of her family's conversion to Mormonism and their practice of that faith in Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria. Although she focuses on some of the obstacles her family faced in practicing Mormonism in those countries, she argues that it was not until she attended a Presbyterian school in Missouri that she "experienced intense hatred of the church." She was ultimately forced to leave the school because she refused to renounce her belief in Mormonism. Hassan's recollections are revealing of some of the tensions between the Mormon Church and other Christian denominations in the South. Hassan also spends considerable time offering her thoughts on various practices within the Mormon Church, including the temple recommend and baptism of the dead. Additionally, she explains what it was like to be a young woman in the Mormon Church. In so doing, she focuses on her participation in church groups; the centrality of family to the Mormon Church; expectations of dating and double standards for young men and young women in romantic relationships; and her belief that gender hierarchies in the church would neither inhibit her independence nor prevent her from pursuing both a career and a family. Hassan also addresses the matter of race in the predominantly white Mormon Church: she describes her own experience as a young black woman, and she discusses the Mormon ban on black men entering the priesthood prior to 1978. She also explains the precedence of faith over race when choosing a marriage partner. Throughout the interview, Hassan's comments are revealing of the growing role of the Mormon Church in the American South at the end of the twentieth century.
  • Experiences as a Mormon at a Presbyterian school in Missouri
  • Dating and the Mormon Church
  • Importance of the temple recommend and "baptisms of the dead" in the Mormon Church
  • Thoughts on the ban of African American priests in the Mormon Church prior to 1978
  • Importance of marrying within Mormon faith
  • Dating, faith, and double standards
  • Thoughts on gender roles within the Mormon Church
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.