Afua Hassan, class of 1981 and Wanda Moore, class of 1983

Afua Hassan, class of 1981 and Wanda Moore, class of 1983

Afua Hassan grew up in New Haven, Connecticut and was always expected to attend an Ivy League institution. Her mother was a school teacher, and her father was a third-generation college student, but she was told during high school that she would not get in where she was applying. Nevertheless, Hassan did apply to Brown and was admitted, officially graduating in 1981 though completing final coursework in 1983 with an A.B in African American Studies after also studying Pre-Med.

In this interview recorded during the 2018 Black Alumni Reunion, Afua Hassan and Wanda Moore discuss their time at Brown University, the effect their education had on their careers, and the importance of their friendship, which strengthened when Moore became pregnant in her junior year. The two explain that their friendship and Hassan’s desire to document her work as a midwife of color and midwifery in communities of color drove them to donate this interview.

Wanda Moore gave birth to her son in April 1982, just before the notorious blizzard of that year. She then raised her son while also working and completing her undergraduate degree at Brown. Having returned to Providence for a time to complete course work towards her own degree, Hassan lived with Moore, helping to care for the baby. Moore goes on to describe life on campus as a pregnant woman and she narrates her birth story. Hassan then begins a longer discussion of her career as a midwife in Houston, Texas and the contentious politics that are involved in the field, specifically in relation to race inequality and women’s general misinformation when seeking out prenatal care. Hassan shares anecdotes of working with women and their partners during the birth process and the effects the expansive geography of Texas can also have on women’s access to healthcare. She recalls couching a father by phone through an emergency delivery of their child while in route to the hospital.

Moore concludes the interview by describing why she chose Brown, the importance of the Third World Transition Program and how it affected her relationships on campus.

Recorded on Sep 22, 2018

Pembroke Hall, Brown University

Interviewed by Mary Murphy, Nancy L. Buc '65 Pembroke Center Archivist