"To Have Better Than What I Had”: The Transgenerational Family Pedagogy of an African American Family in the South

Jessica S Powell


This paper, based on an ethnographic study of Black families in the South, explores the narratives of the Jordan family across three generations to understand the varied histories of schooling, education, segregation, and desegregation that are embodied in the stories they share. Their stories describe a transgenerational family pedagogy, which I define as the moves, choices, and messages shared across generations to support the educational and social mobility of their children and grandchildren. Their stories underscore the strengths of the segregated community schools of the past, while exposing a shift when de jure segregated education became de facto segregated schooling, and was no longer a suitable option for their children and grandchildren. This paper brings a new perspective to the family involvement discourse by arguing that our understandings of family-school partnerships can be strengthened by analyzing families and their relationships to education as historically and contextually situated


Family diversity, black families, desegregation, family pedagogy

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