Returning to the Source: Black Teachers Centering Justice with Black Students in Chicago Public Schools

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In 1996, Dr. Timuel D. Black collected and archived 36 oral histories with alumni and current students and staff from DuSable and Phillips high schools, Chicago’s first two all-Black high schools. Several of those interviews were with alumni who returned to their alma mater as teachers. In this study, I drew on analyses of the interview transcripts collected by Dr. Black and other primary source data to piece together narratives detailing the socio-political forces that influenced the educational praxes of three Black teachers at DuSable and Phillips High Schools. As the findings of the study detail, each of the teachers developed socio-political consciousness prior to entering the teaching profession and during their professional careers. Their relationships to the moments and movements that shaped Black life in Chicago and elsewhere influenced the pedagogical and curricular conditions they attempted to create in their classrooms. As a result of their socio-political analyses each teacher in this study constructed educational spaces in their schools for Black students to reimagine and actualize more just futures. By understanding the consciousness of Black teachers of the past—returning to the source—contemporary Black teachers may be better equipped to navigate the complexities of their roles in schools today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUrban Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Black education
  • Critical Studyin’
  • Heritage Knowledge
  • Justice-centered praxis
  • Socio-political consciousness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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