Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

Teacher Education

Committee Member

Joe Bishop, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ethan Lowenstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ronald Woods, J.D.

Committee Member

Gloria House, Ph.D.


In 2016, the Detroit Independent Freedom School Movement (DIFS) was established out of the need for positive educational activities for children of the dismantled Detroit Public Schools (DPS). The movement was organized by Detroit community members who created grassroots organizations in response to decades of destruction created by State Emergency Management. This empirical ethnographic study explored the historical evolution of freedom schooling and how volunteers empower residents with community education in Detroit, Michigan. Through a narrative inquiry of volunteer community organizers, the analysis explored the use of Afrocentric methods as a means for political resistance while grounding the experience in a critical lens of Afrocentric Theory.