Our Home by the Sea: Critical Race Reflections on Samuel Chapman Armstrong's Accommodationism through William H. Watkins' The White Architects of Black Education

Theodorea Regina Berry, Michael E. Jennings


The work and words presented are a reflection of the multidimensionality of two critical race scholars and their engagement with the work of Dr. William H. Watkins, specifically his seminal text The White Architects of Black Education: Ideology and Power, 1865-1954. This work will be framed similarly to the way Watkins framed his chapter on General Samuel Chapman Armstrong in this work. Our story, a critical auto-ethnographic narrative, will begin with a discussion of the historical context that frames the relationship we have with Watkins and the relationship we have with General Samuel Chapman Armstrong and Hampton Institute.  Next, this work will provide a description of critical auto-ethnography and narrative inquiry as independent research approaches that are combined for the purpose of this work.  The work will continue with a discussion about the purpose of knowledge for Blacks at Hampton, the culture of the Hampton experience, and the role of politics, race, and education manifested in Watkins’ work and through our personal narratives.  The work will conclude with a positionality statement that summarizes the work in the context of our present voices and the absent yet ever-present voice of Dr. William H. Watkins.


Dr. Theodorea Regina Berry, Ed.D. (National-Louis University, 2002) is an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Director, Recruitment and Engagement in the Graduate School at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  She is also an Associate Professor of Curriculum Studies in College of Education and Human Development in the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching. Prior to her appointment to the Graduate School, Dr. Berry served as Director of the African American Studies Program (2014-2016) and the Graduate Advisor of Record for the PhD in Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching program (2014-2016).  Dr. Berry, a pioneer scholar on critical race feminism in the context of education, engages in scholarship with a focus on the lived experiences of women of color as pre-service teachers and teacher educators, critical examination of race, ethnicity, and gender for teaching and teacher education, and critical race feminism, and curriculum theory.  Dr. Berry’s research appears in such journals as the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in EducationJournal of Curriculum TheorizingRace, Ethnicity, and EducationJournal of Educational Foundations, and Urban Review.

Dr. Berry currently serves as Vice-President for the Foundation for Curriculum Theory, and Member-at-Large for the Executive Council of the American Educational Studies Association (AESA), and 2016 Co-Site Conference Coordinator for the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies (AAACS). She has served as Past President for the Georgia Educational Research Association (GERA), Past President, Critical Race Studies in Education Association (CRSEA) and Past Chair (2009 – 2012), Critical Examination of Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Gender Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Dr. Berry has published several articles and book chapters and is lead editor and contributing author of From Oppression to Grace: Women of Color and their Dilemmas Within the Academy (2006, Stylus Publishing) and author of States of Grace: Counterstories from a Black Woman in the Academy (forthcoming, 2017, Peter Lang).  She is also co-editor of The Evolving Significance of Race in Education: Living, Learning, and Teaching (with Sherick Hughes, Peter Lang, 2012).  She is also founding senior co-editor of the International Journal of Curriculum and Social Justice and Associate Editor of the Journal of Curriculum Theory.


Dr. Michael E. Jennings currently serves as an Associate Dean in the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  He also serves as a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies where his research focuses on: (a) cultural and racial diversity; (b) critical race theory; and (c) narrative/autoebiography. His graduate training was completed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received an MA in Political Science (focusing on Political Theory) and a Ph.D. in the Social Foundations of Education. 

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Copyright (c) 2016 Theodorea Regina Berry, Michael E. Jennings