Oral history 11 September 2014
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Collection
(PART 1 OF 2) Henry John Drewal served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nigeria from 1964 to 1966. His training at Columbia University included study of the Yoruba language. In Nigeria, Drewal was assigned to teach French and English at the African Church Grammar School in Abeokuta, a city in the Yoruba-speaking western region. He was also assigned to be the school's sports master, and focused on volleyball and tennis. Among his accomplishments was the construction of the school's first tennis court. During school holidays, Drewal organized and ran vacation arts camps for the primary school children. In his spare time, he continued his study of Yoruba and apprenticed himself to a Yoruba sculptor, an experience which had a profound impact on the rest of his life. After the Peace Corps, Drewal returned to Columbia University graduate school in African art history and anthropology, earning a Ph.D. At the time of this interview, he continues to do research in the history of African art and the diaspora. He is active at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin, and is on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin. Interviewed by Phyllis Noble, September 11, 2014 (1 audio cassette tape). See Box AU26.