Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, PhD


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Gail L. Thompson

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Daryl G. Smith

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Linda M. Perkins

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Daniel E. Mitchell


For this study, the researcher sought to implement a visual arts-based Afrivisual to help inspire, motivate and empower African American students in gaining a culturally relevant education in Euro-American-centered schools. Using the Afrivisual in this work as an action-oriented tool the researcher sought to expose African American students to an African historical context.

This research project utilized three African-centered theoretical frameworks: (1) Afrocentricity, (2) Africana Philosophy, and (3) Africana Critical Theory. The problem this work addresses is found in four areas, (1) American history is Eurocentric, (2) African history has been distorted, (3) Africa’s contribution to world civilization has been ignored, and (4) African American students have suffered from identity issues.

The primary purpose of the study was to show how African American students may react to culturally relevant exposure to African history and to investigate if exposure to African history is culturally relevant for them. The researcher also hoped to present an effective strategy for Black students from an African-centered point of view. The central questions of this study were, “How do native-born African American community college students respond to a culturally relevant visual tool? What experiences have they had with history? How has their exposure to history affected them?”

Both quantitative and qualitative phases of this study were based on data and interviews with African American community college students. Descriptive statistics, including frequency percentages shown in tables were used to present the questionnaire data. Qualitative coding techniques were used to present the focus group data. The qualitative phase of the study highlighted the introduction of the Afrivisual, a visual arts-based and culturally relevant educational tool.

There were similarities between the survey sample and the interview sample. The quantitative and qualitative data combined to show the strong desire African American students have to study African history, African civilizations, and to learn about their African ancestors. The triangulation of the data revealed that African American students who were found to be proud to be Black, vowed to be vigilant in future history classes about what they’re being taught, and to present questions about African history. The students also expressed a tremendous need to share what they’ve learned about African history with other African Americans.

The significance of this study is that the Afrivisual can be a potentially effective teaching strategy. Also additional researchers may be able to build upon the findings of this inquiry by using another media form of the Afrivisual. Lastly, it exposed weaknesses in the self-hatred thesis as it applies to African American adults, and called for the groundbreaking theoretical framework to be revisited.