Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Sherry Deckman

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Learning | Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Educational Methods | Race and Ethnicity | Theory, Knowledge and Science


community controlled education, critical love, critical pedagogy, pro-Black education, curriculum design, Black Panther Party, SNCC


“Spirits in the Dark” is a digital space dedicated to the efforts of Black community education. It memorializes the commitment and strategies of spirits, light bearers like Mary McLeod Bethune and Huey Newton – people who devoted their lives to the fortification of their communities via education. This project also presents a variety of answers to one specific question: What lessons can school leaders and educators incorporate from community-controlled education programs to make learning spaces affirming and engaging for Black students? In totality, the digital space contributes to conversations in urban education and sociology, specifically the ones being held around cultural relevance, social justice, and more importantly, Blackness. “Spirits in the Dark” urges educators to move past the halls of anti-racism and diversity trainings, prodding them to transform their classrooms into spaces that fully embrace Blackness – spaces where Black children and youth are affirmed and engaged holistically and radically loved.


Online component:

Sydoni Ellwood-Spirits in the Dark.warc (11996 kB)
Archived website as a WARC file, created using – web archive player available at