Culturally responsive practices of African American educators before and after desegregation
Garrett, Sherri Denise
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As an African American child growing up in the segregated South, my formative years were nurtured by teachers who looked like me, lived in my neighborhood, attended my church and knew my family. This autoethongraphical study allowed my lived experiences to link with the experiences of nine African American teachers who shared the same Jim Crow era with me in the state of Georgia. The the lens of Critical Race Theory the study revealed the racialized experiences of the participants and how they circumvented the oppressive nature of their experiences by imparting culturally responsive practices within their classrooms both before and after desegregation. As the participants prepared for desegregation, research about the process of desegregation failed to include the voices of African American teachers who had to uproot their livelihoods, leave their schools and be thrust into unfamiliar environments. What culturally responsive practices were they able to continue to practice in the integrated school? What support did they receive from the community and parents once desegregation was established? This study answered questions that were not asked African American educators as the South transitioned from segregation to desegregation. It provided the space to allow those teachers to finally have their say. Today the nation is at a quandary as to how to close the achievement gap between African American students and their White counterparts. Educational interventions, trends, standards and curricula have not provided the promises many had hoped for in closing the gap. So much can be learned from exploring practices of the past. Through narrative inquiry, this study investigated the underlying culturally responsive themes that helped and benefited the educational performance of African American students during the days of "separate but equal".