My teaching philosophy is an extension of my research agenda. I work in the tradition of social justice education epitomized by generations of Black women teachers like Fanny Jackson Coppin, Anna Julia Cooper, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Septima Clark. As Toni Morrison argues, teaching values in a university requires us to examine, evaluate, posit, and reinforce--the values I teach are those grounded in a tradition of progressive Black women educators.
As I show in a forthcoming biography, Dr. Cooper was a paradigm for wellness, freedom, and human rights education. Her long life (105 years grown), is a practical model for longevity and sustainable peace building work. As poet Sonia Sanchez writes, peace is a human right--and I believe world peace begins with inner peace. Thus, I replace common definitions of power (control over others) with a conception of power as self-definition, self-determination, self-possession, and self-control.
Of course, as a graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies and faculty member at Clark Atlanta University, Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois's tradition of scholar-activism informs my teaching as well.