‘Going to a place called home to which you've never been’: Critical life stories from Sankofa for Kids, a New Orleans-based African diasporic youth organization

2009 2009

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

Recognizing the need to counter the (mis) education about Africa that has permeated U.S. society and education, some African Americans have incorporated programs that provide Black youth with opportunities to learn about African cultures and to have first-hand experiences within the continent (Wilcox, 1998; Wilcox, 1997). This dissertation critically analyzes the life stories of five board members, eleven scholar alumni, and two parents of scholar alumni associated with the target case of Sankofa for Kids (SFK), a community-based African diasporic organization founded in pre-Hurricane-Katrina New Orleans. The research explores the ways in which participants discuss traveling to Africa in the context of their life stories. More specifically, the study attempts to understand the ways in which African Americans who participated with SFK conceptualize their African diasporic travel within a historical, social, and educational context that has consistently perpetuated stereotypical and racist understandings of Africa and African people.

Designed to elicit critical life stories embedded in a case study, the main data collection methods utilized were semi-structured and life story interviews and surveys. In addition, written documentation and archival information were reviewed. The data include thirty-one interviews and eleven surveys. This research lies at the nexus of numerous facets of identity—racial and cultural as well as local, national, and global. The data are analyzed within the conceptual frameworks of critical race theory, ethnography of diaspora, and rooted cosmopolitanism.

The study found that the participants negotiated their racial, ethnic, national, religious, gender, and language identities when reflecting upon their African diasporic experiences. It also found that familial, community, church, and kinship relationships were central to the lives of the participants and profoundly helped shape their worldviews. In addition, education (in the broadest sense) played a vital role in participants' experience of youths as educators, their perceptions of U.S. and African views of education, the importance youths attached to teachers, and their perception of (mis)education as a perpetuator of stereotypes about Africa and African people. The findings, along with the two life story excerpts that are included, highlight the importance of community- and school-district-based African diasporic programs in New Orleans and in the lives of African Americans.

Indexing (details)

Black studies;
Education history;
Ethnic studies
0325: Black studies
0520: Education history
0631: Ethnic studies
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Education; African diaspora; Community-based organizations; Global education; Louisiana; New Orleans; Sankofa for Kids; Youth development
‘Going to a place called home to which you've never been’: Critical life stories from Sankofa for Kids, a New Orleans-based African diasporic youth organization
Hamilton, Evelyn McCall
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 70/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Danns, Dionne A.; Bull, Barry L.
Committee member
Assensoh, A.B.; Dennis, Barbara; McCluskey, Audrey T.
Indiana University
School of Education
University location
United States -- Indiana
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.