Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Ph.D.

First Advisor

Dr. Josephine Bradley

Second Advisor

Dr. James Young

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Twining

Abstract

This study investigated the impact of rural, one-room, African-American schools on the educational experiences and racial consciousness of African-American children and adults in two Hardin County, Kentucky communities during the period of segregation. Objectives of the study were: (1) to identify one-room school educational activities. (2) to identify expressions of African Consciousness and characteristics (concept included characteristics of African Identity and Culture) that enabled African-American children to develop survival skills required for life in America, and (3) to identify the communal and cultural activities that supported the one-room school children.

The researcher found evidence that African Consciousness and African identity and culture were apparent in school and community activities. The rural citizens were aware of their black identity and they shared information about the positive accomplishments of black people with each other. Traditions, practices, and customs that affirmed worth, dignity and integrity were passed on in the communities; furthermore, they helped each other learn the traditions. Racial oppression was resisted in the communities. Cultural activities were provided by the schools and the communities in mutually beneficial endeavors.

Exploration of the education provided to rural African Americans before the Brown decision was significant for several reasons. First, it allowed an examination of an under-researched segment of the American educational system. Second, African Americans, including the researcher, who were part of the segregated educational system were able to give their own descriptions and interpretations of their educational experiences. Third, positive interactions and supports that promoted student survival in the segregated system were identified.

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