Black Girls Travel: Creating Fugitive Spaces for Adolescent Black Girl Identity Formation through Roots Tourism

Authors: Theresa Hice Fromille*, University of California - Santa Cruz
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Tourism Geography
Keywords: Black geographies, youth, tourism, fugitive space
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Test In 2018, BlackGirlTravel (BGT), a community-based travel organization (CBTO) for adolescent Black girls based in the East San Francisco Bay, led eight participants on a 10-day excursion to Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa. In this paper, I utilize ethnographic fieldwork, participatory methods, and Black feminist epistemologies to better understand the impact of travel on the rising roots tourism demographic that this organization represents – Black youth. This work seeks to understand how the CBTO’s Black feminist curriculum – which highlights the hetero-patriarchal white supremacist spatial constructions enforced by Western nations – influences positive participant identity formation. The central findings of this research include the following: 1) Adolescent Black girls understand their self-identification and racial group cohesion through a diasporic imagining; 2) Racial group cohesion based on a diasporic imagining is challenged when the girls travel outside of the United States, but BGT curriculum offers a type of socialization that assists the girls in dealing with these challenges; 3) Roots tourism groups like BGT offer adolescent Black girls a fugitive space for identity development. This research contends that BGT creates a space of fugitivity which influences the identity formation of adolescent Black girls, a claim that supports McKittrick’s (2006) assertion that “Black matters are spatial matters” (p. xii; Hawthorne, 2019). However, I add that such matters must also consciously account for the matters of Black youth.

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