Thomas C. Hunt Building a Research Community Day


Developing Culturally Responsive Anti-Racist Activists

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



Teacher Education


Educators can work collectively to disrupt traditional systems that perpetuate inequities using their voices to build curriculum to inform and empower students. Moving the vision of the program forward, two faculty members, an AfroCaribbean Black woman and an African American woman, the Urban Teacher Academy at a predominantly White institution (PWI) in the Midwest has evolved to function as a counter-space where candidates can interrogate their own identities and roles in resisting the traditional oppressive systems. Developing specialized programs to respond to the needs of today’s urban classrooms is of foremost importance as the student population grows increasingly diverse and the teaching population remains primarily white and female (NCES, 2018). The Urban Teacher Academy (UTA), in partnership with local urban school districts, is a specialized preservice program grounded in the frameworks of culturally responsive pedagogy, abolitionist teaching and antiracist pedagogy designed to prepare teachers to meet the challenging needs of urban schools and develop into equity advocates for the students and families they serve (Milner, 2010). This presentation details our work as social justice advocates: our reimagining of UTA in a structure that centers activist pedagogical practices and clinical experiences that strengthen and empower teacher candidates. This reimagining includes Caribbean epistemologies such as Sylvia Wynter’s (2015) body of work and Black intellectual traditions such as Anna Julia Cooper (1892), Dubois (1903), and Freire (1970). The lessons learned demonstrate that specialized coursework, experiential learning and targeted urban field/clinical experiences for those interested in teaching in urban settings can lead to longer teacher retention, urban career longevity and the development of educators committed to being equity advocates for the students and families they serve (Cochran-Smith, 2004). EPP has a responsibility to produce graduates who have a knowledge base and skill set that will enable them to create inclusive supportive spaces for all learners in K-16 education. This conversation also helps to move social justice advocacy forward in the nexus between teacher practice and equity.


culturally responsive pedagogy, antiracist teaching, abolitionist teaching, urban, equity



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