Raising Black Dreams: Representations of Six Generations of a Family's Local Racial-Activist Traditions

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How do local African American leadership traditions develop and change? How do they compare to and connect with national African American leadership traditions? This dissertation explores some answers to these questions through an examination of the history of one middle-class African American family's communal activist legacy. It is built, first, on my research into my adopted family's local, evolving communal-leadership ideology, which extends from the antebellum era to the present; and, second, on my examination of how my family's leadership tradition compare with and connect to patterns in national black leadership conventions.

In the chapters, I lay out the basic issues I will investigate, discuss the literature on black leadership, contextualize my study, and introduce and define the concepts of racial stewardship, local racial activism, local racial ambassadorship, and racial spokesmanship which are central to my exploration. I conclude the dissertation with an summation of my work, and how my research contributes to existing scholarly conversations about black leadership traditions found in African American Literature, History and the social sciences.