Term of Award

Summer 2022

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

John Weaver

Committee Member 2

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 3

E. Anthony Muhammad

Committee Member 3 Email


Non-Voting Committee Member

Suniti Sharma


This dissertation is a memoir where I tell my stories of negotiating cultures, races, ethnicities, and identities in Nigeria, and in the United States as a first-generation Nigeria American teacher in an inner-city elementary school in Georgia. As a labeled African American upon entry into the United States, I did not understand the meaning of being Black because everybody in Nigeria is Black. In becoming Black, I became racialized, marginalized, and lumped into the African American ethnicity. I was rejected for not being Black enough in the United States nor Nigerian enough in Nigeria. Theoretically, I draw upon a wide array of works such as Reframing Blackness and Black Solidarities (Dei, 2017), the Rhizome of Blackness (Ibrahim, 2014), Americana (Adichie, 2014), and critical race psychoanalysis regarding the complexity of Black identities (Fanon, 1952/2008). Methodologically, I draw from A River Forever Flowing (He, 2003), What It Means to An American (Walzer, 1996), The Education of a British Protected Child (Achebe, 2009), Home and Exile (Achebe, 2000), The Story of a Young South African Martyr and his Struggle to Raise Black Consciousness (Woods, 1978), I Write What I Like (M. Biko, 1978), Between the World and Me (Coates, 2015), and Floating in Most Peculiar Ways (Chude-Sokei, 2012). Five discoveries have emerged from my dissertation inquiry. Experiencing triple marginalization--marginalized in Nigeria as an Igbo, in America as Black, being perceived not to be Black enough as an African American nor as an Igbo/Nigerian

American, I feel constantly displaced to be “neither here nor there” (He, 2003, 2010, 2022), which characterizes my Igbo/Nigerian cultural and linguistic existence as a 1st Generation Nigeria-American dwelling in-between languages, cultures, and identities ( Baldwin, 2008; Dubois, 2014; Ibrahim, 2014; Imoagene, 2019; Greer, 2013). Although my life experience of the ethnic, political, cultural, religious rivalries and divisive politics in Nigeria did not teach me anything about being Black in the United States, it has shown me that Igbo heritages need to be preserved, protected, and propagated as I struggle to thrive as a Nigeria-America. Linguistic and cultural differences within Black heritages are often obscured, homogenized, or ignored in mainstream curriculum theories, practice, and policies, which colonizes African Diasporas as we struggle for racial, linguistic, and social justice. Although composing a memoir to understand my life experiences in Nigeria, in the United States, and in-between is excruciatingly painful and emotional, it liberates to make meaning out of deep personal experiences which could not be expressed otherwise. There is an increasing need to develop an African Diaspora curriculum (Hall, 2022; King 2022) which draws from historical, cultural, and linguistic experiences of Africans as exemplified in literary texts by African authors to “legitimize [African heritages and] epistemologies,” foster the “wellbeing of African-descended people,” flourish “human freedom from dehumanizing” (King, 2022) schooling, and create hopes and dreams for all.

INDEX WORDS: Hyphenated identity, Negotiated intersectionality, A First-Generation Nigerian-American Male Teacher, Memoir

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material