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Freedom Dreaming: Black Communal and Familial Educational Practices in Pittsburgh’s Hill District before, during and after COVID-19

Delale O'Connor, Lori and Huguley, James and Holbrook, Kirk and Dancy, Elon (2021) Freedom Dreaming: Black Communal and Familial Educational Practices in Pittsburgh’s Hill District before, during and after COVID-19. In: Pitt Momentum Fund 2021.

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In this project, faculty, staff, and students from the Center for Urban Education (CUE), the Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP), and the Hill District Community Engagement Center (Hill CEC) will work collaboratively on a research and practice project that focuses on learning how schools and other formal educational spaces can center Black families and communities as knowledge co-constructors. Through this work, we will also cultivate synergies across these three Centers to engage in more collective work.

1. project draws upon semi-structured, in-depth interviews with Black caregivers who have been engaged in educational activism and re-imagining educational experiences for their children and the children in their community and community activists and community leaders in the Hill District Neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Our focus will be on (a) understanding participants' assessments of their experiences of schooling for their children and children in their community, both generally and in the present COVID-19 pandemic; (b) the roles of the formal educational entities (schools, district); and (c) the in-home/in-community practices and resources they forward and engage for educating Black children. All participants will be compensated for their time.

Drawing from what we learn from our data collection and analysis and in conversation with members of the Hill District Community, we will coordinate collaborative workshops for the community at the Hill CEC focused on educational advocacy and engagement. We will develop collaborative workshops and/materials for educators, caregivers, and community members to engage in real and substantive conversations to forward the educational projects of their community.


1. What were the pedagogical practices of Black communities prior to COVID-19? How do these mitigate experiences with public schools and schooling?

2. How have COVID-19 and related subsequent homeschooling expectations impacted these practices?

3. How do Black communal practices reflect Black dreams (vision, sense of purpose) for youth education?

4. How can institutions of higher education collaborate with families and communities to support the latter’s self-advocacy?


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Delale O'Connor, LoriLORIDOC@pitt.edu0000-0001-8742-6431
Holbrook, Kirk
Dancy, Elon
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Office of Sponsored Research > Pitt Momentum Fund
Date: 2021
Event Title: Pitt Momentum Fund 2021
Event Type: Other
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.18117/f5cy-dg22
Refereed: No
Other ID: 4259
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2021 19:11
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2023 19:30


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