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The Rise of Educational Consciousness: Racial and Class Politics of the Detroit Public Schools, 1943-1974

  • Author(s): Suarez, Bianca Ayanna
  • Advisor(s): Perlstein, Daniel H
  • et al.

This study examines the development of radical educational consciousness in Detroit, 1943-1974. This study draws on precepts of critical social theory to analyze archival data, memoir and biography, personal archival collections, extant oral history interviews, and 16 original oral history interviews conducted in Detroit. Utilizing a relational historical ethnography research design, this study asserts the emergence of radical educational consciousness was informed by a critique of capitalist relations of production and experiential knowledge of a geography of spatial racism. This radical analysis directly challenged racialized administrative control over the school system. In Detroit, a radical conception of community control of schools was articulated as a rejection of both racial liberalism and bourgeois cultural nationalism. By the late 1960s, radical educational consciousness conceptualized educational struggle as a front of broader liberation struggle.

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