Date Approved

2012

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Betty Brown-Chappell

Abstract

Through reading Warmth of other suns by Isabel Wilkerson as a class project, I was introduced to the history of the Great Migration, the exodus of African Americans from the oppressive Jim Crow laws in the South. Learning about the personal experiences of individuals who took part in the Great Migration, and their inability to shed racism and oppression in the North and West, led me to a deeper understanding of the many social, economic, and political challenges faced by African American citizens. This understanding prompted in me an interest to learn more about the African American culture, in particular the multidimensional and evolving roles of African American women. Throughout history a plethora of African American artifacts and cultural information have been lost due to institutional neglect. Lack of education about the importance and process of preservation has been a contributing factor in this loss of cultural history. Researching and documenting the life of an African American woman, Ada Mae Woodson Brown Metcalf, and her evolving role from orphan to matriarch is one step in rectifying the neglect that has resulted in the grave scarcity of African American historical material.

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