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Title:Spatial solutions for healing in marginalized communities: A case study on the Gullah/Geechee people
Author(s):Burke, Celia Reeanne
Advisor(s):Harwood, Stacy A
Department / Program:Urban & Regional Planning
Discipline:Urban Planning
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urban Planning
Abstract:The enslavement of Africans in the Americas speaks to a terrible cruelty and greed that tarnishes the polished image the United States has long promulgated to itself and the international community. This experience also speaks to the endurance and innovation of Black Americans and their enslaved ancestors in unimaginable circumstances. America’s decision makers have often minimized slavery’s impact on those involved (i.e., the immense wealth it brought to slavers and their descendants as well as the immense trauma it brought to slaves and their descendants) and its representation in any public platform. Therefore, understandings about enslavement in the United States are tied more to individual interest and research than to readily available knowledge for all. My interest is the basis of this thesis. In an American society that celebrates many people and events, what message does the lack of Black American representation in the public send? Combine with this the spatial tactics that have kept Black Americans siloed from white Americans and the privileges available to them, and the message is clear: you are unwelcome and unworthy. In this study, I focus on some of the harmful practices attributed to spatial professions, including urban planning. I do this by presenting existing examples while also providing historical context specific to the descendants of enslaved Africans in the United States. This study incorporates sources that examine the relationships between space and trauma, and it discusses the impact these relationships have on identity development. Insights of this study, while transferrable to the broader Black American population, are primarily focused on a Black American ethnic group called the Gullah/Geechee, who live on the southeastern U.S. coast. This focus offers unique perspectives because of the group’s nuanced experiences of identity and place that set them apart from the extended Black American community. I will conclude with examples of healing spatial practices and thoughts on what we as urban planners should strive to do in the future.
Issue Date:2019-07-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Celia Burke
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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