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Seeking Self-Determination for Black Communities: Toward Revolutionary Place-based Community Engagement

Ellerbee, Daren (2024) Seeking Self-Determination for Black Communities: Toward Revolutionary Place-based Community Engagement. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Black self-determination and freedom is the goal of Black communities who have faced the oppressive and violent hand of white supremacy in America and throughout the world. Higher education is rooted in the European University and was not created for Black people. Historically, predominantly white higher education institutions (PWHEIs) maintained the social order. As racialized organizations, various PWHEIs created place-based Community Engagement Centers (CECs) located within marginalized communities, including the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). Pitt’s first CEC opened in Homewood in October 2018 with a 15-year long-term commitment of “staffing infrastructure, and coordination to facilitate mutually beneficial collaborations between Pitt and the local community” (University of Pittsburgh, 2023a). Homewood is a predominantly Black neighborhood located in Pittsburgh’s East End. Black residents face challenges including underemployment and poverty, dilapidated housing stock, lower life expectancy and failing schools. Despite this, its residents have displayed resiliency and a desire to thrive. Though distrust of Pitt by community members loomed, Homewood’s leadership, reflected through the Homewood Community Development Collaborative, continued to partner with Pitt and other anchor institutions to improve the community’s conditions. This evaluative dissertation in practice examined the perception of Pitt in Homewood and whether the institution’s place-based practices were in alignment with principles of Black self-determination and freedom. The ideology of Kawaida (Karenga, 1993, 1998), an African American and social philosophy, and its central values the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles; Karenga, 1998) are examined and reimagined as a value-system which centers Blackness and could result in community-university partnerships and praxis aimed at supporting Homewood’s ability to define, defend, and develop itself.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ellerbee, Darend.ellerbee@gmail.comdae59
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDancy, T.
Committee MemberRichard,
Committee MemberLorie, Delale-O'
Date: 5 January 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 3 October 2023
Approval Date: 5 January 2024
Submission Date: 4 December 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 123
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Black self-determination, Black communities, Community Engagement, Place-based Community Engagement, Hyperlocal Place-based Community Engagement, Community Engagement Professionals, Community Engagement Centers, Place-based Community Engagement Centers, Nguzo Saba, Seven Principles, Racialized Organizations, Kawaida
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2024 20:29
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 20:29


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