Term of Award

Fall 2008

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

William Ayers

Committee Member 2

Ronald Bailey

Committee Member 3

Saundra Nettles

Committee Member 3 Email



This is an inquiry that explores the cross-generational lived affects of educational, political, and public policies on my paternal family from 1899 to the present in Northern Mississippi and West Tennessee. It is an exploration of my family's history and my lived experience as the first person in the family to obtain an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree, and a doctorate, who has attempted to use education in a substantive way to break the cycle of generational poverty. Members of six generations of my family are the main characters in the stories collected. Using oral history, I document their experiences. From the memories of living family members that knew them, I reconstructed the stories of deceased family members. Oral history not only allowed me to capture their stories but to also understand them as individuals in light of their lived experiences. Examining the affects of various educational, political, and public policies on their lives, I was able to construct new meaning. I convey this new meaning using the voice of our family patriarch- my greatgrandfather- to dispel the myth that all families in generational poverty are headed by single-females. African-Americans are a marginalized people rendered voiceless through educational, political, and public policies levied against them by the dominant culture. Unto the Third and Fourth Generation of African-Americans is a declaration of reclamation, not only for the voice of my family, but also for all African-Americans. This generational narrative reveals how various educational, political, and public policies have affected and continue to affect six generations of my family. This counter-story presents a fresh perspective illuminates past and present inequalities in our society. The dominant culture must acknowledge and affirm that African-Americans are a voice in this world, and we demand to be heard!

Research Data and Supplementary Material