I took a course this semester called Urban & Community Studies. The course focused on a few main themes:
1. Changing Cities — The multiple forces and related impacts by which U.S. cities have been transformed , demographically, physically, economically, and culturally from the 1940s to today.
2. Black Urban Communities — The growth, consolidation, and continued evolution of black communities within U.S. cities during this period and the corresponding view in U.S. popular culture that closely associated black people with cities.
3. Grassroots Activism — Various local efforts and community-based work within cities, particularly among black residents, to create healthy, sustainable, and just urban communities and to project new visions for cities in the 21 century.
“Healing through Storytelling” would be my fourth theme for the course. Throughout this semester, we have read books, viewed clips from shows and movies, and shared our own personal experiences discussing the topic of Black urban communities, activism, and changing cities. As I have stated before, many classes and the sources used to learn material have been very academic based and sometimes without room for the growth of new ideas, only the teaching of existing ones created by scholars.
The material and discussions were centered around the student’s ideas when reading some academic material, but also experiential work as well. We were given the opportunity to form our own thoughts and understanding of the topics listed above. It is in this open-mindedness and sharing of stories that we can all move towards communities that enable us to grow and live in equality.