Experiences of African American Orphan Educators Once Called "Girls From That Colored Orphanage"

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Barbara D. Guess (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Kathleen Casey

Abstract: First-hand stories about the experiences of orphan African American educators who grew up in the child welfare system are nonexistent. Typically, stories about orphans exclude African Americans and focus on male, European Americans. In cases where African Americans are not excluded from discussions on orphans, the focus tends to be on the negative rather than the positive aspects of their lives. This study investigates the positive outcomes of African American orphans who tell their own stories filtered, not through the eyes of childhood as the experiences take place, but through the mature eyes of educated adults. They narrate their own stories through first-hand knowledge about what it is like to live under the protection of child welfare. The methodology chosen for this study is narrative research. Narrative research allows the researcher to collect data by tape-recording life histories, transcribing, and analyzing the data, which I did with African American educators who were "orphans" in the 1950s and 1960s. In accordance with the theories of Kathleen Casey, Jean Clandinin, and Michael Connelly, open-ended questions were utilized so that the voices of the participants could be heard through their own words, with all the selectivities and silences that personal narratives entail without losing the richness of the stories. The six participants interviewed in this study are authors of their own narratives and they create meaning from their experiences through these narratives. Their understanding and interpretation of their orphan experiences may stand in sharp contrast to those of other researchers. My conceptual framework which incorporates narrative, resilience, and the hidden curriculum of resistance yielded important findings: success in foster care is likely to result from permanence, stability, and resilience; policymakers should assess and promote resilience in children of foster care.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
African American, Orphan, Educators, stories, narratives, child welfare, Kathleen Casey, Jean Clandinin, Michael Connelly
Orphans $z United States $x History $x African Americans.
Orphanages $z United States $x History $x African Americans.
African Americans $x Education.
Orphans $z United States $v Interviews $x African Americans.
African American teachers $v Interviews.

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