“Until Justice Rolls Down Like Water” Revisiting Emancipatory Schooling for African Americans – a Theoretical Exploration of Concepts for Liberation
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CitationEl-Amin, Aaliyah. 2015. “Until Justice Rolls Down Like Water” Revisiting Emancipatory Schooling for African Americans – a Theoretical Exploration of Concepts for Liberation. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractAfrican Americans have a long history in the United States of being asked to live within, and flourish in spite of, a racist society. Throughout this history, African Americans built education institutions – often referred to as emancipatory schools – with the primary goals of (1) “freeing” African Americans psychologically and (2) equipping African Americans with tools to fight for their economic, political and social freedom. As racism persists, disseminating these tools to African Americans remains necessary today. Yet, there is currently no emancipatory, comprehensive school model for African Americans outside of the limited offerings of Afrocentric schooling. In fact, recent educational interventions we have chosen to focus on diligently prepare African Americans to succeed in spite of their racially unjust world. This dissertation builds on historical efforts and offers a theoretical model for African American education that re-prioritizes cultivating the skill and will for enacting social change (transformation) in addition to the capacity to thrive within existing constraints (navigation).
Revisiting emancipatory schools as a viable pathway for educating might shift this landscape and prepare more African Americans to forge radical change. Drawing on cross-disciplinary scholarship, including psychology, sociology, political science and education, this dissertation suggests that five pillars must serve as the cornerstone of new emancipatory practice. These pillars are: a) a sound racial identity, b) critical consciousness, c) collective obligation, d) a liberation centered academic achievement identity and e) activism skills. Many of these pillars are staples of critical education but they are not always fully explained as a set of liberation tools and traditionally do not serve as the cornerstone of whole-school comprehensive practice. Using both theoretical and empirical literature, this work describes each of the asserted pillars, outlines their demonstrated impact on the lives of African Americans and explains how all five pillars are interconnected and should be cultivated together in a whole-school setting to achieve the intended outcome of preparing African Americans to fight for their racial liberation.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:16461053