A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture

“Write a Timeless Message Across the Sky”: Tracing Congregational Capital From Stolen Word to Spoken Word

Ericka Reynolds, University of Connecticut
Carmen Kynard, St. John's University

Enculturation: http://enculturation.net/we-write-a-timeless-message
(Published February 23, 2011)

This is an essay written by me, a first year-college student, Ericka, and me, as professor, Carmen, in a first semester college composition class. The theme for the course was “Community Cultural Wealth and the Written Word,” with community cultural wealth serving as a link to work in educational studies related to Critical Race Theory (CRT). In CRT in educational studies, a central argument is that all discourses, activities, placements, and assignments related to schooling as an institution are inherently racialized constructs. Community cultural wealth is a notion that asserts that communities of color have forms of cultural capital that have been calculatingly and consciously discarded in order to racialize school and its processes as white. The goal of this composition class, then, was to (re)read others’ narratives and (re)write one’s own narrative with an eye toward recovering those forms of cultural capital that can turn the hegemonic whiteness of schooling on its head. One such assignment in this course was to write a collaborative narrative with a partner from the class whose capital you felt you shared: the goal of the assignment was simply to respond to any two texts read in the course of the semester together by analyzing the forms of cultural capital presented and collaboratively locate contemporary and popular connections. Ericka chose Carmen.

While it might be cliché to say that a teacher learns as much from her students as vice versa, this piece is a performance of that kind of cross-learning. Ericka came up with the central theme and purpose of this project and chose most of the authors for us to form our dialogue with. We then each went off and did some writing and then patched our work together, just like our female ancestors once did when they made quilts during slavery that held the secrets to their journey toward freedom. This is the quilt of our story. With Ericka leading the way, we have located a unique historical and contemporary location for our own situatedness as women of African descent; we then write that identity on the page here, and by so doing, enact a different kind of identification for where and how writing happens--- in the world and in the first-year composition classroom. We don’t think of this work as a collaborative essay because we are careful to remember Linda Smith’s warning that definitions of collaborative research and writing involving communities of color are still too Western. Instead, our writing is what we call a word-bonding: our words are now joined and bound and as we say in the African American cultures, word is bond! We end our piece with closing reflections that we call Sankofa so that just like the mythic Sankofa bird, we look back and fly forward.

Narratives, poetry, and songs have been the voice of the black community. They speak of health disparities, politics, and empowerment of African Americans. More importantly, they are living proof of the timeless message that our ancestors have endowed in our beings. In this joint essay, our word-bonding, we take to heart the idea that there is an ancestral, timeless message so that we can embody our connections to past and present African American slave narratives, poetry/spoken word, and music. We use the notion of cultural capital as defined by Critical Race Theorists to connect these generations of African American writers and, most importantly, to paint ourselves into an image that allows us to see and understand the ways that African American wordsmiths are our cultural capital and, therefore, how and why we write. More traditionally, we might be thought of as writing a kind of personalized aesthetic treatise on African American writers/artists; however, our insertion and reading of our cultural capital makes this piece first and foremost a treatise of our multi-genred connection between our culture, ancestral memories, and writing.
We start with Common, a contemporary voice who empowers us as an emcee. In Common’s song “The People,” he travels through our ancestors’ oppression and displays the growth of the African American culture. In his first frame he says,

Yeah you know how we do
we do it for the people
And the struggles of the brothers and the folks
With lovers under dope
experiment to discover hopes

The experiment to discover hope lives in the narratives of the slaves. While our ancestors may have been slain for a righteous purpose, their words have been left with us to create an understanding of the harsh past to reflect on. Without their struggle and endeavors, the African American community would be a culture built on an empty platform. Without having our ancestors as the proper foundation, we would be building greatness in mid air. In the event that the community fell on hard times, we would have nothing to fall back on. Since we have been a culture established on strength, we have continued to evolve in the same manner. As Common says,

scuffle for notes
the rougher I wrote
times were harder
Went from rocky starter to a voice of a martyr (Common)

This martyr who endures any card that they’re dealt because their belief is so strong is representative of the contemporary poets that carry on the legacy of our ancestors. By being the current voice of the martyr, contemporary poets adhere to the ancestral legacies that come with their beliefs.

After looking at slave narratives and contemporary poets, we have defined a new form of cultural capital in black communities that merges aspirational capital with social capital. We are inspired by critical race theorists who have continually challenged the way that cultural capital has been confined to dominant white/elite groups, sustaining their very privilege, at the calculated expense of the community cultural wealth of racially subordinated communities.1 Critical race theory (CRT) has shown us how to talk about community cultural wealth in at least six forms of cultural capital: aspirational, navigational, social, linguistic, familial, and resistant capital.2 As Yosso argues:

aspirational capital is the ability to hold onto hope in the face of structured inequality and often without the means to make such dreams a reality. Yet, aspirations are developed within social and familial contexts, often through linguistic storytelling and advice that offer specific navigational goals to challenge (resist) oppressive conditions. Therefore, aspirational capital overlaps with each of the other forms of capital, social, familial, navigational, linguistic and resistant (77).

We borrow the term, aspirational capital, from critical race theorists and use the term to mean that unexplainable-yet-felt thing inside of us that tells us as African Americans that we can keep on keepin' on even when everything around us suggests that just the opposite is true or possible. It’s like that old folk-wisdom expression: I’ll make a way outta no way. This expression is something more to us than just words or a witty truism but a way of seeing the world. We know of few other groups in America who can claim this kind of makin-a-way-outta-no-way history the way that enslaved Africans can. Frederick Douglass’s determination to learn to read and write, as described in The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs’s triumph over her physical and mental cage of slavery, as described in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, stand as shining examples for us. If this were really a nation that valued and rewarded those who worked hard, then the descendants of enslaved Africans like Douglass and Jacobs would be at the forefront of Wall Street and Main Street. Nobody worked harder than slaves who, as Malcolm X would say, worked “from can’t see in the mo’nin ‘til can’t see at night" (Breitman). The legacy of Douglass and Jacobs as slaves, activists, revolutionary thinkers, and fierce literacy defenders/inventors have certainly not been lost or forgotten by us. We see this legacy as not just a history lesson but as the living heartbeat that many folk of African descent consciously pulse through their bodies and beings and, therefore, written and oral expressions.

A CRT-inspired definition of social capital refers to “networks of people and community resources…. peer and other social contacts [that] provide both instrumental and emotional support to navigate through society’s institutions” (Yosso 79). Spoken word artists have their own network where they communicate and proliferate standards of literate practices for artists and audiences as well as the pathways that remain connected to the ancestors. Daniel Beaty’s and jessica Care moore’s work, who both made their debuts with the longstanding African American institution of “Showtime at the Apollo,” stand out for us in this regard. In CRT, social capital refers to the resources--- elders, family, extended family, your ride-or-die crew--- that nurture you, sustain you, and give you a lifeline like the Apollo, in Beaty’s and moore’s cases. The resources that we mean here also, however, refer to ancestors who become the means and end that keeps us keeping on, a paradigm and process of cultural capital for African Americans that we now call congregational capital. We are using the notion of congregational capital as a kind of map to connect multiple points of African American history and culture; taken together these points work as both stopping points and as a guide for our future direction. While we mostly talk here about what you might call literary texts, we are also talking about the purpose and role of literary texts as something more than words and aesthetics. We use congregational capital as a way to name why we both personally connect to slave narratives and spoken word artists as part of our very life force as black women today. We also see the contemporary group getting its substance and sustenance from the elder group.

Though we are talking about what might be called aesthetic issues, it is the work of psychologists who especially impact us in understanding what congregational capital is and does for us. We are especially drawn to Shorter-Gooden who talks about black women’s coping with racism and sexism in their lives as intimately connected to how black women reflect on the struggles of their ancestors, what is called “standing on shoulders” (420). In Shorter-Gooden’s research among black women, connecting to the struggles of your ancestors offers a “cushion against what might feel like an unassailable fore” (420). Even when the black women of Shorter-Gooden’s study feel they do not have the power to change the racist and sexist situations they face at school, work, and other institutions, they still claim to draw strength from the ancestors to cope, a process called armoring (Broman, Christian, et al). Other scholars even cite black literature as part of this armoring (Feagin and Sykes). Therefore, the ancestors are not a kind of trope or mindless mantra that we use to define congregational capital. We are talking about cultures and locations where the living and the deceased relatives and other spirits are active and important participants in communities and in one’s daily life (Mattis; Nelson). We are not, of course, suggesting that all African Americans choose this kind of conscious and deliberate ancestral connection; in fact, we would guess that in many elite or holier-than-thou (i.e., Western-educated) circles, the idea of the ancestors as real and important would be scoffed at, called mumbo jumbo, or dismissed with this word--- “romanticized.” Despite that circle of folk, there are believers amongst us, some folk you might even say are quite proud to have romantic/intimate relationships with their ancestral heritage and history. Hey, if ya got it, flaunt it. We belong to this group and we respect ourselves and our community of believers enough to name, theorize, self-define, and self-actualize who we are, what we do, and whose shoulders we stand on as writers and thinkers.

We see spoken word artists as part of this community, poets who use their writing and performing as a way to tell the story of the past and present to build a new future. We call this their congregational capital because they have an ability to link with forerunners long gone in order to fight in the contemporary world against current injustices. The cultural capital of spoken word artists lies in their ability to connect to the past and so we needed a new definition and lens for that. We now call this congregational capital, a new term created by Ericka, a first year college student. It was Ericka who first thought to connect a slave narrative with a spoken word artist’s performance-text. We soon realized that we were both drawn to these kinds of writers and had to figure out why for ourselves. We now think there is a unique kind of community cultural wealth where contemporary identities, notions of self, and current struggles of people of African descent are put in sync intentionally and unequivocally with past events, leaders, triumphs, and defeats. We chose slave narratives to show this psychic, political bond with today’s spoken word artists. We do not separate these writers/word-smiths into different, opposing times and spaces according to Western chronologies and instead link these figures in an ongoing and evolving, embodied political philosophy of thought.

We focus here on Douglass’s infamous chapter about learning how to read. When Douglass was moved to Baltimore to Hugh Auld’s home, the mistress of the home, Sophia Auld, began teaching him how to read in 1827. When her husband found out, she immediately stops because she is warned “that it was unlawful, as well as unsafe, to teach a slave to read.” It is at this point in Narrative that Douglass begins to quote master Auld:

If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master--to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world…if you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master. As to himself, it could do him no good, but a great deal of harm. It would make him discontented and unhappy. (274-5)

The episode to which Douglass refers here is well known and very much in sync with the various laws in the United States forbidding slaves to read and write. We think of Douglass’s persistence and determination to read as a kind of aspirational capital that CRTists define; it is a soul-force that let him press forward. Even in Narrative, where there was arguably not much room for him to be outrightly defiant and rebellious against whites of the time, he distances himself from Auld’s categorization of him as just a “nigger” who would and should be nothing but a slave in the world. His words in parenthesis--- “(speaking of myself)” lets you certainly know that he does not think of himself in the way that Auld dehumanizes of him. He acts as if the reader might have forgotten or been confused as to who Auld might mean with the word, “nigger,” since the category is so alien to who Douglass is. It is like he is making a footnote to the reader as if to remind: now don’t you go thinking of me this way either. This kind of aspirational capital is important here because it is exactly this kind of soul-force that contemporary poets draw from to press forward an alternative source of inspiration, content, and style. Douglass calls this stolen literacy event the moment when he “understood the pathway from slavery to freedom” and he kept freedom on his mind for all of us (275).

The mind is the keeper of thoughts and actions that we make throughout life. Our mentality is the part of our mind that we abide by. While we might all seem to have sole control over our mentality, a very influential part of our body, slaves were in the care of slave owners who preyed upon their mentality. Slave owners understood how the mentality of a slave could be manipulated to further press the idea of oppression, an oppression that has been a generational curse in the black community. Jacobs signifies the struggle that the African American culture has endured. She was kept bound to a small attic that was inhabited by rats and mice. She cried and longed to see her children but there were no significant peepholes for her to look through. She states, “This continued darkness was oppressive” (438). Being kept in a box in such living conditions not only hurt her physical state, but mentally and spiritually oppressed her. At another point in her narrative she says, “I contrived to read and sew. That was a great relief to the tedious monotony of my life" (440) The darkness that she spoke of goes beyond the den in which she lived, her darkness came from being unable to morph or grow into anything else. Her only options were to be under extensive working conditions as a slave or to be in the den that she was in. Freedom may have seemed like an unreachable dream, but she found an escape from enslavement where she could hear her children and be free of her master. She, thus, “stole” her way to freedom right under her master’s nose. Her endeavors represent what contemporary artist Daniel Beaty said, “Diligence is for the sake of the children.” 3 We are calling someone like Beaty the metaphorical and ancestral child of Jacobs. He appreciates what his ancestors have done for him. He draws his poetic lessons from the slave narratives like Douglass and Jacobs to relay a timeless message to the people of this generation. Amongst many he has become the voice of reason, telling of the current oppression in the African-American community and how it can be conquered by self-empowerment, education, and compromise.

Beaty is a contemporary poet who embodies the thoughts and concerns of the African American culture as it can be seen today. In his piece, “Knock Knock,” he touches on issues that are occurring now. He talks about visiting his father in jail and running towards him, but being confronted by a glass window. That glass window represents the generational barrier between children and their parents as well as the institutional and structural racism that invades black families. As a young boy, Beaty plays a game with his father where he awaits his father’s knock. As he gets older, the knock becomes non-existent and he has to learn to father himself. As a grown man, he is still hurt by the absence of his father, but despite that event, he will still make something of himself. At one point in his piece he says, “Yes, we are our father’s sons and daughters, but we are not their choices.” His message is meant to encourage those who lack a father figure in their life to thrust forward despite the choices our parents made. So often children view their parents as people who cannot do anything wrong. When we put them on those pedestals, we are immensely hurt if they fall short of our expectations. For me, Ericka, as a child, my father was the best person in the world until he became a person who attempted to oppress my dreams. Everything I tried to do, he attempted to suppress my ambition given his own circumstances. Like Beaty, I learned to live above what others expected. Even before college, my father said to me, “I’m not trying to belittle your dreams, but I am trying to be realistic about the things that you are capable of.” I was entering the most important stage in my life, and that’s the piece of advice my father decided to leave with me? Prior to hearing Beaty speak, I was hurt and angry and questioned my own capabilities. But hearing Beaty speak about how we’ve passed the stages of oppression and moved into a new evolution of black culture moved me. Jacobs and Douglass went through multiple oppressions so that we could rise from that and be the creatures that they struggled so diligently for. While the oppression of our ancestors is not a mirror image of social problems for us now, it is still a historical lesson to reflect upon to understand that our past may not be our future, but it has prompted the people we are. What we see then is a kind of multiple cycling of congregational capital: from the force and power of Beaty’s words as deeply embedded in a literate and psychic tradition dating back to Douglass and Brent; to Ericka (re)gaining strength and dignity from the experiences and messages of Beaty, Douglass, and Brent given the box that is imposed on us.

Perhaps, moore herself offers the greatest connection to Douglass and Jacobs and our insistence of congregational capital. Moore closes her poem, “Warriors Walk Alone,” by letting the audience know that you can plan a revolution as long as you keep it hidden. As she states, “create a real revolution when no is looking so they will never see us coming.” 4 This is an accurate testament to the way that Douglass learned to read and write and what he did with that new knowledge as well as how Jacobs managed to escape slavery though she never left her master’s property. Moore herself dedicates this poem to women who use their words as “their weapon and their survival,” an accurate description of how and why she herself as a woman-poet also writes. Moore’s poem is not simply a celebration of the past, however, or the dignity that can be mined out of the past’s triumphs, no more so that Beaty’s poem. Moore and her work are a testament to the oppression that women, especially black women, still face and the work that they often have to do alone in maintaining a bit of dignity and the will to fight for that better tomorrow. Whereas Beaty provides a compass to guide a radical reclaiming of “the lost brilliance of the black men who crowd these [jail] cells” under the prison industrial complex, moore offers a compass that will guide an understanding of the ways that black women’s pain and struggles are both ignored and worsened. For me, Carmen, I see myself as an educator, immersed in a struggle: many youth of African descent are alienated from school’s constricting boundaries and yet are connected to spoken word poetry and multiple literacies outside of school. They are part of today’s fight for the right to our own literacies/dignity in much the same way that Douglass and Jacobs were. As a black female faculty member, despite the fact of having an administrative title and position, I see no real allies or colleagues in this fight. Even those colleagues who claim to advocate for a critical pedagogy or literacy willingly implement and enforce corporatized testing regime (and it hardly seems a coincidence that these are largely white men) where my students, largely of color, get measured, but never seen or heard. As a black woman aware of her history, I see this while regime as no different from the time when my ancestors were inventing the first truly American genre of literature--- the slave narrative--- while white folks were running around inventing a “scientific method” for measuring black people’s brain skull sizes--- “assessing,” “proving,” and “showing” that we were inferior. In this setting, it must be my ancestors who I see myself in communication with because there really are no allies in sight. If we see African American Literacies (Richardson) in the CRT-influenced definition of linguistic capital, then our classrooms cannot simply invite students to celebrate their histories but move on with more important business of mastering the standard forms and formulas of the English used by those in and for power. These are mostly a hegemonically white and middle class definitions of and practices for speaking and writing and go against what Ericka and I have defined as our purposes for what we write and why we write it. The point of seeing and hearing, for instance, spoken word artists in the first year writing classroom is for students themselves, especially those who are working class and of color, to carve out what these artists mean to them, where these artists sit on the historical map of students’ own lives, and, therefore, where these artists sit on the linguistic map of students’ own literacies. It is no coincidence that the spoken word artists and emcees who have captured the linguistic and psychic energy of younger generations are people who look like us and not the majority teachers and assessment “experts” who do not. Like what both moore and Beaty remind us, our fight is not over; and more importantly, our fight is connected to those who came before us.

Our ancestral prophets have made important steps so that we, amongst the rest of the African American community, can get forth to do the work that we are called to do. Every inhabitant of this Earth has been created in the Divine likeness of those who came before her. Our ancestors before us have lived a struggle that we will never know anything of but that sustains us. Prophets like Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass wrote of mental and physical oppression that attempted to keep them bound to slavery. Jacobs’s life was confined to a four-walled box but her mind was not captured. Like Jacobs, Douglass was held captive by a slave owner who attempted to control his literacy and therefore his freedom. Though Jacobs and Douglass were indoctrinated with the belief that they were inferior, they were courageous enough to know that their people would evolve into beings who are beautiful and ever more changing for a better future.
The message that Jacobs and Douglass wrote can be concluded in a song titled ‘Black Butterfly’ by Deneice Williams. One frame of the song says,

Write a timeless message across the sky…that a dream conceived in truth can
never die.

Our ancestor’s oppression is a timeless message that tells of the struggle of the black community and how every day we rise above our expectations. We must see and name the process of knowing and connecting to this timeless message as our cultural capital, Our forefathers and foremothers were dedicated to the growth and maturity of our culture and embedded in our souls an inner courage to conquer the trials we come across. When asked for a word to describe the cultural capital of African-American communities, we call it congregational capital. Ours is a community built on the strength drawn from its ancestors. Many contemporary artists derive their outlook, creative expression, opinions and purpose from those ancestors and continue a legacy built on what people like Jacobs and Douglas envisioned for us. To borrow from the final words of Beaty’s closing question in his poem: “Who’s there? We Are!”

Carmen’s Sankofa

Congregational capital--- yeah that’s it! How could I have taught for so long without explicitly addressing it, asking for it, centering it? As central as the ancestors are to how I imagine my own well-being and forward-movement, I have never been deliberately conscious of the ancestors as audience, as purpose, as meaning, as my very own rhetorical foundation. After all, isn’t that, at its root, really what learning/imposing all that Western Civ and the canon was all about anyway? Problem being, it ain’t for all of us. Congregational capital is a direction for how and why students are asked to write in my classes now. It means, for instance, that I do not speak in the western cognitive terms of metacognition and process that composition-rhetoric scholars still engage ad nauseum. Instead, I ask my students to imagine Sankofa as a guiding metaphor for this course. Sankofa comes from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Afrika. Visually and symbolically Sankofa is represented as the mythic bird that flies forward but is constantly looking backward with an egg in her mouth, where the egg symbolizes the future. In the Akan language, the concept is expressed as: "se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki," which translates to "it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot." Sankofa means that you need to reach back into what and who you “usedta be,” take the best of what your past has to teach you, and use all that to achieve your full potential in the future. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone or have been stripped of, we can reclaim, revive, preserve, and (re)present. But more than just thinking of Sankofa as a metaphor for the process of how we write, we need Sankofa to inform what and why we write too. I even asked my students this semester to think of their final writing portfolios as a tribute to their ancestors. This invitation is not insignificant and is more than just a school assignment. To imagine one’s audience within multigenerational communities of color automatically interrupts the hegemonic gaze of bourgeois whiteness that we normalize and sustain when we insist, if not all of the time then most of the time, that our students’ most primary and pressing audiences come from the locations of white institutional power: jobs, hiring crews, other faculty, graduate schools, state tests, departmental tests, middle states/college accreditation reviewers, journals, etc. All of these institutions are largely controlled by whites and create a kind of institutional racism that many of us as writing teachers seem quite willing to recycle by professing: it’s the reality; it’s just the ways things are; I teach the power codes; we are rarely honest, smart, or critical enough to simply say “it’s the social reality that privileges me so I sustain it by teaching it.” I will always be learning what congregational capital will look like and mean as the site of rhetoric and composition in my class… much love to ya, Ericka, for leading the way. Ashe!

Ericka’s Sankofa

While writing this paper I found it very complicated to gather my thoughts at first. There were so many things I wanted to say and so many things I wanted to express through my readings and videos. There are a great amount of songs and videos and poems that I could have used but I chose Common as an introduction to our idea of a congregational capital.

While typing my paper, I was listening to Common’s album Finding Forever, and his song “The People” came on. I was on the phone with my boyfriend and he said, “E, you gotta give THE PEOPLE what THEY wanna hear. You gotta tell THE PEOPLE what you’re tryna to say.” And as I listened to the song and thought about what he said, I viewed this assignment as something bigger than just a paper. Ancestral oppression is something that presents itself heavily in every culture and as it relates to black culture, I find it to be to present in the relationships between us. People need to understand that oppression can be fought but we have to learn from those past times.

This paper has truly challenged me to write better because I was not able to come up with something off the top. I had to go deep into the meaning of everything. I was crying over the first page because I just could not say what I was trying to say. I couldn’t tell THE PEOPLE what THEY needed to hear. And until I could, I had no one to write for. Finally I went back to the words that began this project, the words of my ancestral prophets, and I was like, “oh this is it.” Because Frederick Douglass and Linda Brent wrote about what they went through, we can now reflect on it and use it as a prophecy for our future and its bearings.

Writing this paper has made me mature and appreciate my history. It has also become a gateway to future papers. It taught me to take pride in my work and that the words I use can truly become something. I can give the world to my readers, a new world. I now find my papers to be messages made for THE PEOPLE and I’ll continue to use THEM as a way to relay my message AND TO BE HEARD. Ashe!


1 We are obligated to note here that CRT in education is not solely or even partially focused on the aspects of cultural capital that we are discussing here. See Adrienne Dixson and Celia Rousseau’s bok and Gloria Ladson-Billings and William Tate’s now canonical article for Teachers College Record for an introduction.

2 See: D. Delgado Bernal, “Critical Race Theory, LatCrit Theory and Critical Raced-Gendered Epistemologies: Recognizing Students of Color as Holders and Creators of Knowledge” Qualitative Inquiry, 8.1 (2002): 105–126; D. Delgado Bernal & O. Villalpando, O. (2002) An Apartheid of Knowledge in Academia: The Struggle over the ‘Legitimate’ Knowledge of Faculty of Color” Equity and Excellence in Education, 35.2 (2002): 169–180; R. Stanton-Salazar & S. U. Spina, “The Network Orientations of Highly Resilient Urban Minority Youth: A Network-Analytic Account of Minority Socialization and Its Educational Implications” The Urban Review 32.3 (2000): 227–261; D. Solórzano, M. Ceja, & Tara Yosso, “Critical Race Theory, Racial Microaggressions and Campus Racial Climate: The Experiences of African-American College Students,” Journal of Negro Education, 69.1/2 (2000): 60–73; D. Solórzano & D. Delgado Bernal, “Critical Race Theory, Transformational Resistance and Social Justice: Chicana and Chicano Students in an Urban Context” Urban Education 36 (2001): 308–342; D. Solórzano & O. Villalpando, “Critical Race Theory, Marginality, and the Experience of Minority Students in Higher Education” in Emerging Issues in the Sociology of Education: Comparative Perspectives, eds C. Torres & T. Mitchell, 211-224 (New York, SUNY Press, 1998).

3 See Daniel Beaty, “Knock Knock.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ6ySMXYY4w. Retrieved October 15, 2009.

4 See jessica Care moore, “Warriors Walk Alone.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aZP-S6NkTs&feature=related. Retrieved October 15, 2009.

Works Cited

Beaty, Daniel. “Knock Knock.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ6ySMXYY4w. Retrieved October 15, 2009.

Breitman, George, ed. Malcolm X Speaks. 1965. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990. Print.

Brent, Linda. "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl." The Classic Slave Narratives. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York, Penguin, 1987. Print. 332-515.

Broman, C. L. (1996). “Coping with Personal Problems.” Mental health in Black America. Eds. H. W. Neighbors & J. S. Jackson. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1996. 117-129.

Christian, F. M., Al-Mateen, C. S., Webb, C. T., & Donatelli, L. S. “Stress, Coping and the Mental Health of African American Women.” African American Women: An Ecological Perspective. Eds. N. J. Burgess & E. Brown. New York: Palmer, 2000. 135-159.

Common. “The People.” Geffen Records. 2007.

Delgado Bernal, Daniel. “Critical Race Theory, LatCrit Theory and Critical Raced-Gendered Epistemologies: Recognizing Students of Color as Holders and Creators of Knowledge.” Qualitative Inquiry 8.1 (2002): 105–126.

Delgado Bernal, Dolores & Octavio Villalpando. “An Apartheid of Knowledge in Academia: The Struggle over the ‘Legitimate’ Knowledge of Faculty of Color.” Equity and Excellence in Education 35.2 (2002): 169–180.

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moore, jessica Care. “Warriors Walk Alone.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aZP-S6NkTs&feature=related. Retrieved October 15, 2009.

Nelson, T. “He Made a Way Out of No Way: Religious Experience in an African American Congregation.” Review of Religious Research 39 (1997): 5-26.

Richardson, Elaine. African American Literacies. New York: Routledge, 2003.

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