To Unpack...(And Utilize)

I wrote in Harambee City that "my work resides within a sphere of highly politicized scholarship. Black and freedom movement studies arose from the tumultuous protests and conflicts of 1960s and 1970s street activism. The field aimed to give intellectual and academic credence to black lives, and in so doing unearth black silences. The process inevitably dragged many scholars into contentious debates in and out of the academy, as these social histories became inherently political, by nature or necessity. Undeniably, these books inhabit a philosophical and political reality that still remain part of the 1960s democracy wars." Harambee City does not exist in a social or political vacuum. Even as it displays and disseminates black history, it unpacks the structural nuances designed to keep African Americans at the economic bottom.

Although documents clearly point to the discrepancy between American democracy and black inequality, some of these materials are invariably dense. The public needed to comprehend these documents to critically understand the current status of African Americans in the United States. Thus, the website had to be more than a digital archive. This is why it also includes teacher suggestions, links to other CORE related history, and mapping programs that diagram economic and social inequality into a visual narrative that most people can easily interpret.

The lesson guidelines simplify complicated subject matter through interactive projects and questions. These activities take students through the complex processes involved in decision making and strategy during the freedom movement. Students should be able to correlate racial and income disparity via geo-spatial analysis, evaluate primary sources, scrutinize abstract representations, and formulate an interpretative framework for understanding rhetoric and images from the black power period. Lesson plans will also help participants listen and engage generational, gendered, and/or racial life experiences that reveal diverse perspectives about American History. Learning outcomes include: critical thinking, observation, empathy, analysis, and tactical assessment.


Most important, I created Harambee City as an application tool.  The site is primarily dedicated as an apparatus for historical production.   However, I hope individuals and neighborhoods can utilize the work of CORE as a prototype for discerning the levers of power and fighting on behalf of their communities.  Partially, this is why I like Social Explorer as a mapping program.  It is simple to use, easily accessible so that anyone can create their own map, and it uses census data to tell powerful stories.  It is my hope that viewers can use the information and digital platforms in Harambee City (book and website) to think about civic engagement, freedom struggle, and how they can ignite a politically, socially, and economically transformative movement.