Scope and Method of Study. This qualitative research was conducted to determine if air transportation contributed to changes in the African American culture. It explores the reasons for visiting West Africa and the evolving results of the journey. Questions were in two categories. The travel and transportation area asked if aviation fostered any changes to mindset, attitudes, and landscape; while the stereotypes and cultural perspectives category examined cultural issues before travel and after return. An earlier study from 1986 was referenced and the evolution noted. A purposive sample of 13 African Americans over the age of 18, born and raised in America who traveled as tourists to West Africa since December 2004, were interviewed and asked 21 standard structured questions, with follow-up as indicated. The recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and included.
Findings and Conclusions. The travel and transportation findings were comfortable, safe, and enjoyable; and African products were readily available in America. Time saved was cited by 12 (92%) as the major convenience offered by aviation. Curiosity and seeking firsthand knowledge and information about African people, history, culture, heritage and ancestry were reasons for traveling. The expectations of negative stereotypes were eradicated. Disappointments were observed and expressed. Differences and similarities were noted in several areas. Intense negative sentiments were expressed about America after returning from Africa. The themes that threaded through all of the interviews were: accepting/declaring Africa as home; finding a connection for self identification; and changing personal perception/perspective and the resulting actions after returning to America. It was concluded that travel and transportation affected and impacted the African American culture in mind expansion and self discovery. The landscape of the community and culture has been altered and enhanced. The atmosphere and environment reflect new truths about Africa and Africans. Aviation travel and transportation has contributed to an understanding and acceptance of being descendants of Africa. It has provided a bridge of connection to ancestry.
|Advisor:||Hansen, Frederick D., Marks, Steven K.|
|Commitee:||Key, James P., Kutz, Mary N.|
|School:||Oklahoma State University|
|Department:||Aviation & Space Science|
|School Location:||United States -- Oklahoma|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Black studies, Transportation planning, Recreation|
|Keywords:||African American identity, African Americans travel, African-American, Air travel, Aviation, Cultural changes, Stereotypes of Africa, Tourists, Travel impact|
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