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Jaundae Cooper

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Juandae Cooper was born in 2000 in Liberia. With her family, she moved to the Reynoldsburg, Ohio in 2008. Now Juandae is an aspiring artist

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0:03:28

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

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Today I'll be talking about my dear friend, Jaundae Cooper. She's 18 years old, a taurus, and one of the sweetest people I have ever met. An aspiring artist, a decorated of fashion, and the living definition of black girl magic. Jaundae, or Dae is a test of her time, past and future. Although until recently I thought Jaundae was just another african-american girl like me, with no traces of her history thanks to the slave trade. Yet Jaundae differs from that, being directly from Liberia and holding the country and her culture true to her heart, no matter where she goes.

Jaundae moved to America in 2008, yet she doesn't recall anything impactful from moving. Although Jaundae's does remember her life in Liberia was “comfortable” compared to other people...
She had everything she needed including a driver, a house keeper, security guards. However there were some struggles being that Liberia is a third world country. Jaundae didn’t have a washing machine or dryer or a dish washer in her house so those would be handled by hand. The public school system is raggedy for most children but she went to a private school that functioned like “American Schools” ; comparatively not as bad as other children in her country of Liberia. The roads are 'booty' being either dirt roads or pothole infested roads but there are very few good roads. Jaundae experienced BEAUTIFUL beaches and plentiful resources but everything that makes her land of Liberia as stunning as it; continues to be stolen by foreigners. The poverty rate has been high since our second war because government officials are corrupt. Although, it wasn’t a very hard transition for Jaundae since her family had always been between the two countries but there are definitely HUGE differences.


It is interesting for Jaundae to live in America, because in Liberia she would be considered "comfortable" or "middle to upper clas" but here she is considered poor and lives in an apartment complex. The wealth she shared with her family in Liberia did not translate well over to them coming to America, due to America's own wealth inequality. Although, that's not to say her family isn't well off in little Reynoldsburg, Ohio either. It just differs, especially when she was seen leaning upper class in her homeland.

Jaundae’s family experienced this wealth due to coming from a line of political importance. Her family comes from the 'Four Classmates of Destiny'. Jaundae's own great grandfather was president of Liberia twice, also known as President James Spriggs Payne. Yet, despite Jaundae's rich cultural ties to Liberia and her pride of being black, her great grandfather was mostly white. Although, through lineage and of course mixing, her family became to be more black african. Her grandma, Sarah Hanky is mulatto being german and Kru, while her grandpa, Sam Payne Cooper comes from the 1/8th black James Spriggs Payne lineage. Although, their family was born of slaves.
Despite thos turmoil of being enslaved in the past. the Payne / Cooper blood came to rise to be politically important, and wealthy in Liberia.

No matter where Jaundae goes, or where her family ends up, they all carry the pride of Africa. Translating her love for her culture, country and origin into her art, as well as carrying around the story of her past to tell with anyone she mets, Jaundae is a proud Liberian, as well as a semi proud American, although it is hard to be proud of America.