“They Still Have Expectations…”: An Ethnohistorical Study of Education and Reform in America’s Oldest Black Town, Princeville, NC Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
  • Deas, Eldrin
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • In 1995, the General Assembly of North Carolina directed the State Board of Education (SBE) to develop a restructuring plan for public education (North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2012). In response to the General Assembly’s call to make bigger strides in student achievement, the SBE adopted the ABCs of Public Education—a comprehensive plan for improving schools in the state with a focus on (a) strong accountability, (b) teaching the basics, and (c) local control (North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2006). In the 1996-97 school year, Princeville School was labeled as low-performing (NCDPI, 1999) and, despite a period of significant improvement in the immediate years following its initial designation, has been regularly labeled as such since 2005. Since the advent of the ABCs of Public Education, a series of reform efforts have taken place in North Carolina and in Princeville, in particular. Using ethnohistorical methods coupled with oral histories, this study seeks to connect community experiences and perspectives with archival material in order to understand the degree to which the people of Princeville, NC—America’s oldest Black town—have experienced these education reforms. Drawing upon reality pedagogy (Emdin, 2016) and Critical Race Theory, the research explores how oral histories serve as counternarratives (Delgado & Stefancic, 2012) to the majoritarian story (Noblit & Jay, 1993) of education reform.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Noblit, George W.
  • Trier, James
  • Bolick, Cheryl
  • Hughes, Sherick
  • Davis, Cassandra
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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