Term of Award

Spring 2008

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

Saundra Murray Nettles

Committee Member 2

Onyile Onyile

Committee Member 3

Ronald Bailey

Abstract

This study examined the connection between Black youth moral behavior and the aesthetic value of Black art. Today's Black youth are impressed with elements in the media, their schools, and other social surroundings that have been a little less than upstanding. This exploration of moral relevance of self evaluation is important in order to empower the Black youth of today. With this self-empowerment, Black youth can have the ability to access and exhibit behaviors of moral integrity. This study examined interpretative narratives regarding Black art through group discussions, one on one interaction, a questionnaire, and participant observations by Black youth in the community in Jonesboro, Georgia. The interpretive stories were collected from a group of five eighth grade Black youth. This selected group represented less than 1% of the population of 30 % of under age 18 year old Black youth in a community of 51.6% Black. Participants were encouraged to relate the visual experience to their own childhood. In addition to this, stories from my own childhood experiences were incorporated as an important aspect of this research. The goal is to share my research and strategies with educators, parents, and community leaders who can ii direct this process of increasing self awareness regarding morals among Black youth through specific exercises in schools and community venues. Critical race theory provides the theoretical framework for this study with an emphasis on aesthetics. This framework contains information gathered from historical narratives of Black works of art as well as written and verbal texts of Black students and theorists of Black studies. I have included a number of poems which are reflective of the Black experience. This research drew upon developments of democracy, relating to Black culture, education of Blacks in the South, and the relationship of moral principles among Blacks relating to art, schools, and social events in America. These theoretical insights span from the beginning of the educational history of Blacks in the United States until the present. A visual narrative methodology was used to interpret the semiotics for Black culture which creates an aesthetic pedagogy necessary for introducing change to curricula in schools and programs in the community. Through these controlled discussions and written responses the implications of moral understanding resulted in evidence for understanding oneself as Black youth.

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