Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Being black in America: Narratives from African-Americans about segregation and desegregation in Miami – Dade County, Florida
by Williams, Mariah Nandi, M.A.L.S., Dartmouth College, 2016, 134; 10145555
Abstract (Summary)

This oral history project explains the experiences of sixteen African-Americans during Segregation and Desegregation in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Equally important, this project describes the historical incidents that occurred in participants’ lives before and after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. African-American participants discussed their meaningful involvement relating to specific neighborhoods, educational institutions, workforce fields, entertainment locations, and civil rights affiliations.

Some participants will express their gratitude towards segregated neighborhoods, educational institutions, and entertainment locations. Participants who preferred these specific categories during segregation did so because it reminded them of the social and cultural bond that African-Americans shared during that exciting yet, painful time. Some participants accepted the positive implications that desegregation offered them. For instance, desegregation provided African-Americans with the opportunity to become exposed to diversity in certain educational institutions and workforce fields. One the other hand, African-Americans unequivocally recount their controversial observations about the impact of desegregation. While neighborhoods, educational institutions, and workforce fields invited African-Americans into predominately white spaces, African-Americans experienced prejudice because the racists they encountered were resistant to change. At the same time, the resistance to change fueled African-Americans to remember their civil rights.

Contradictions amongst participant responses were frequent. They all knew that segregated laws were put in place to make them subservient to the white race. For this project, the term “segregation” equaled the term “inferior” to the person of color “back in those days.” However, undeniably speaking, social and economic consumer support for African-American “self-made” pioneers- even with limited resources-were enormous. My participants’ remembrance of social and economic progression for African-Americans during the era of segregation cultivated hope within their local communities. Unfortunately, the social, cultural, and economic safety nets that African-Americans innovated for their communities had to change for the progression of society.

In all, this project will explore two critical questions. First, were African-American communities during segregation socially, economically, and culturally progressive? And has desegregation improved the social, economic, and cultural wellbeing of African-Americans living in Miami-Dade County, Florida. These critical questions will aid the reader in determining the positive and negative impact that segregation and desegregation has had on the African-American community in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Frommer, Harvey
Commitee: Pease, Donald, Jr., Walker, Keith
School: Dartmouth College
Department: Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
School Location: United States -- New Hampshire
Source: MAI 55/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, American history, Individual & family studies
Keywords: African-Americans, Creative writing, Desegregation, Florida., Miami-dade county, Oral history, Segregation
Publication Number: 10145555
ISBN: 978-1-369-01035-0
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