Term of Award

Summer 2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 2

William Schubert

Committee Member 3

John Weaver

Committee Member 3 Email



This dissertation is a series of speculative essays that explore the intersections of classical education, African American education, and culturally responsive/relevant/sustaining pedagogy. For centuries, classical education dominated the educational scene, and even today many people consider it to be a paragon of learning. However, it contains elitist and outdated ideas. By recognizing the miseducation of Blacks in the United States and exploring the educational journeys of four prominent African Americans: Marva Collins (1936-2015), W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963), August Wilson (1945-2005), and Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), I explore possibilities that classical education can be culturally empowering for African American students rather than contested to their cultural heritages, legacies, traditions, and histories. I illuminate ways to create culturally empowering pedagogy for classical education for African American students. Classical education should be used to liberate African American students rather than oppress them. We need to create a space for African American students to heal from their tragic loss and all forms of oppression they experience at home, in the community, and at school. We also need to honor African American students’ funds of knowledge (González, Moll, & Amanti, 2005) and the cultural roots of their learning styles (Hale-Benson, 1986). To develop culturally empowering pedagogy for the classical education for African American students, White teachers need to critically examine who they were and how they have become who they are as teachers, challenge their biases, recognize their cultural blindness, and defy internal and external racism and should work with other educational workers to create a culturally inspiring and liberating learning environment, where all African American students have equal opportunity to reach their highest potential (Walker, 1996).

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material