Authors: Wideline Seraphin*, University of Memphis
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Urban Geography, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: gentrification, Black sense of Place, Black immigrant youth, curriculum, Little Haiti
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
The neighborhood of Little Haiti is in a fierce losing battle against gentrification. This paper explores how anti-Black and anti-immigrant Discourses converged on the neighborhood of Little Haiti and Haitian residents. I identify how gentrification, as a modern colonial act rooted in anti-Blackness, naturalized the displacement and dispossession of Black bodies as a necessary measure for economic growth, revitalization, and social progress (Ramirez, 2019; McKittrick, 2011). The article takes up Ramirez’s (2019) borderland analytic and McKittrick’s (2011) Black sense of place concepts to map out the spatial anti-Black violence of gentrification and its power dynamics, but also how the citizens of the space have continued to combat their dispossession and maintain ties to Little Haiti. This paper grapples with the curriculum of gentrification, in other words, the tacit lessons children of immigrants take up concerning place, their immigrant identities, and disposability of Black bodies. I argue how the destruction and erasure of Black immigrant communities passes down intergenerational dispossession, anti-Black xenophobic violence. These findings necessitate curriculum grounded in a Black sense of place to combat communal erasure facilitated by the onset of gentrification. Perhaps the greatest significance of curriculum rooted in a “Black sense of place” is the possibility for 21st century Black immigrant youth to construct new critical knowledge of citizenship, civic engagement and transnationality. Little Haiti offers a unique perspective of how these colonialist energies intersect within the borders of a Black immigrant neighborhood and how curriculum can serve to mediate its corrosive effects on immigrant children.