To enhance the report's accessibility, certain terms have been defined in this glossary. The glossary content was produced using artificial intelligence (AI), specifically OpenAI's GPT-4 language model (accessed via from June to August 2023. 

The project team acknowledges that although GPT-4 provides a foundation for creating this glossary, it doesn't replace human expertise, insight, and judgment. We also understand our responsibility to be transparent about our methods, choices, and rationale and this note demonstrates our commitment to transparency.

The project team identified two core limitations:

  • Black Scholarship Limitation — AI language model technology does not necessarily bring a lens of Black scholarship to the content it produces.
  • AI-Generated Source Limitation — Staff initially used GPT-4 to produce glossary entries as well as to provide sources for each entry. Through this process, some sources provided by GPT-4 were found to be inconsistent, unrelated, or simply did not exist.

In order to address the considerations described above, the project team developed a two-tiered approach to produce the glossary. Each entry was assessed, designated as tier one or two, and then produced in accordance with the processes described below. Each entry is clearly labeled with its tier.

  • Tier One — The tier one process was designed to address the Black Scholarship Limitation described above. The process tapped into the knowledge and expertise of Action4Equity’s Policy Committee to review and refine tier one entries. The Policy Committee is inclusive of Black people with deep connection to the local community and deep knowledge of Black thought and scholarship. Due to the extensive content in the glossary and time constraints, the Policy Committee couldn't review all the terms within the project's timeline. Instead, the project team selected entries with a relative higher proximity to Blackness (i.e., a social construct that expresses affinity and connection to the African diaspora), as the primary criteria. Over roughly three weeks, the Policy Committee, both independently and alongside staff, reviewed tier one entries to ensure they reflect Black thought and scholarship. Each entry was reviewed, and any associated sources were verified by humans for accuracy and relevance.
  • Tier Two — The tier two process was designed to address the AI-Generated Source Limitation described above. Tier two includes all glossary entries that were not selected for tier one. Time constraints affected the tier two process as well. Due to limited time to vet AI-generated sources, staff opted to remove these sources from the entries entirely. At least two team members then independently reviewed each glossary entry to ensure it provides reasonably accurate and relevant context based on the usage of the term in the report. Some entries were adjusted for accuracy and relevance. In a few instances, additional references or resources were suggested for tier two glossary entries; these sources were reviewed and included if verified to be accurate and relevant.

We take protecting the data we gather from research participants seriously. No sensitive information gathered from participants for this report was submitted to or shared with AI platforms. Our team used AI exclusively to assist with secondary research, as outlined above. Ensuring the confidentiality of participants' data is a top priority for each of the project partners.



Academic Outcomes


Academic outcomes refer to the measurable educational results or accomplishments that a student achieves during their educational journey. These outcomes provide important insights into the effectiveness of an educational system, course, teacher, or specific learning experience.

Academic outcomes can include a wide range of different measures such as:

  • Grades or marks: These include course grades, grade point averages (GPA), and scores on standardized tests.
  • Degree or certificate attainment: This measures whether students complete their programs of study and receive the degrees or certificates they aimed for.
  • Retention rates: This measures how many students continue in their course of study from one academic term or year to the next.
  • Graduation rates: This measures the percentage of students who complete their educational program within a specified period.
  • Knowledge or skills acquired: This could be measured using various assessments that evaluate a student’s knowledge or skills in specific subjects or areas.
  • Post-graduation measures: These might include job placement rates, salaries, or further education enrollments.

Academic outcomes are critical for understanding student learning and for making informed decisions about educational policy and practice.

Access to credit


Access to credit refers to the ability of individuals or businesses to obtain loans or other forms of credit from financial institutions. This is an essential element for many economic activities, such as purchasing a home, starting or expanding a business, or managing unexpected expenses.

For Black Americans, however, access to credit has been and remains inequitable due to a combination of discriminatory practices and systemic barriers. Historically, Black communities were systematically denied access to mortgages and other types of loans through discriminatory lending practices like redlining. These practices have contributed to lasting racial disparities in homeownership, wealth accumulation, and business development.

In more recent times, studies suggest that Black Americans are often disproportionately affected by biases and discriminatory practices within the credit system. They are more likely to face limitations or restrictions in their ability to access credit (being “credit constrained”), have lower credit scores on average, and receive less favorable loan terms compared to white Americans, even when controlling for income and other factors. These disparities can further perpetuate economic inequality and hinder economic mobility for Black individuals and communities.



Financial Accessibility:
Financial accessibility refers to the affordability of a service, product, or opportunity. It is often used in discussions about access to healthcare, education, and other essential services. It implies that costs should not be a barrier to accessing these services, and measures should be in place to ensure people can afford them, regardless of income level.

Personal Accessibility:
Personal accessibility relates to an individual’s ability to use, enjoy, or participate in a service or environment based on their personal circumstances, including factors such as disability, age, language proficiency, and technological literacy.

Community Accessibility:
Community accessibility refers to the degree to which services, opportunities, and resources are available and usable by a community. It often involves considerations of geographic location, cultural appropriateness, language, and social inclusivity.



Accountability refers to the expectation or obligation of individuals, organizations, or institutions to take responsibility for their actions, decisions, and outcomes. It involves being answerable and transparent in terms of one's duties, obligations, and performance. Accountability often entails being subject to oversight, evaluation, and potential consequences for failures or misconduct, with the ultimate goal of promoting integrity, trust, and effective governance.

Achievement Gaps


The "achievement gap" refers to the persistent disparity in academic performance or educational attainment between different groups of students, typically groups defined by socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, or gender. It is often characterized by disparities in grades, standardized test scores, course selection, dropout rates, and college-completion rates.

The achievement gap can be observed at all levels of education, from elementary school through university, and can be influenced by a wide range of factors, including socio-economic status, access to educational resources, quality of schools and teachers, parental involvement, and cultural expectations and biases.

It's worth noting that the term itself is considered controversial by some, who argue it places too much emphasis on the perceived failures of students and not enough on systemic factors such as social and economic inequality, school funding disparities, and biased curriculum standards.



The history of Adinkra cloth and symbols:
The Akan people (of what is now Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire) had developed significant skills in weaving by the sixteenth century, with Nsoko (present-day Begho) being an important weaving center. Adinkra, originally produced by the Gyaaman clans of the Brong region, was the exclusive right of royalty and spiritual leaders, and only used for important ceremonies such as funerals. Adinkra means goodbye (Boddy-Evans, 2020).



Advocacy is the act of supporting, defending, or arguing for a cause, policy, or group of people. It involves actions taken to influence decision-making within political, economic, and social systems and institutions.

In general terms, advocacy aims to ensure that people, particularly those who are most vulnerable in society, can have their voice heard on issues that are important to them, defend and safeguard their rights, and have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives.

There are various forms of advocacy, including:

  • Individual Advocacy: Support given to one person to address an issue that affects them directly. For example, advocating for a patient's rights in a healthcare setting.
  • Self-Advocacy: When an individual speaks up for themselves to express their own needs and rights.
  • Group Advocacy: When people who share common issues, concerns, or goals come together to make their voices heard. Examples include labor unions or environmental groups.
  • Systems Advocacy: Actions aimed at influencing policy, laws, or rules that impact how a system or institution operates. This form of advocacy often aims to bring about systemic change to benefit a group of people.

Advocacy can be performed by a wide range of individuals or organizations, including non-profit organizations, charities, activists, lawyers, and even everyday individuals who feel passionately about a cause.

American Community Survey (ACS)


The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. It collects detailed population and housing information from a sample of households in the United States every year. Unlike the decennial census, which aims to count every resident every ten years, the ACS is conducted annually and provides estimates on social, economic, housing, and demographic characteristics. Information gathered through the ACS helps local, state, and federal officials understand community conditions and is used for planning public services, allocating government funds, and policy-making. Topics covered in the survey include education, employment, income, housing, transportation, and various other aspects of daily life. The data is released in one-year and five-year estimates, allowing for analysis at different geographic levels and timeframes.



An apprentice is an individual who learns a trade or profession by practical experience under the tutelage of a skilled worker or professional. Apprenticeships often combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction and typically last for a specific period of time, during which the apprentice gradually gains the knowledge and skills needed to become proficient in the chosen trade or profession.


Black History


Black history refers to the historical experiences, contributions, achievements, and struggles of Black people, communities, and cultures. It encompasses the exploration and recognition of Black individuals' roles in shaping local, national, and global history across various fields, including politics, arts, sciences, social movements, and more. Black history emphasizes the unique experiences, resilience, and cultural heritage of Black communities and serves to challenge the historical exclusion and underrepresentation of Black narratives within mainstream historical accounts.


  • Franklin, J. H. (1994). From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans. McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Woodson, C. G. (1933). The Mis-Education of the Negro. Associated Publishers.
  • Gates Jr., H. L., & Yacovone, D. (Eds.). (2009). African American National Biography. Oxford University Press.

Black Liberation


Black Liberation is one of the Tier 1 Glossary Terms that was referred to Action4Equity’s Policy Committe for review. Given the centrality of the concept of Black Liberation to the focus of this report, and the extensive definition, sources, and reading list provided by the Policy Commitee, this term has been afforded its own page in the report. Go to the Black Liberation page.


Child Care


Child care is a comprehensive term that encompasses the care, supervision, and education of a child or multiple children at a time. This service is typically provided to children ranging from infancy (approximately six weeks old) up to thirteen years of age. Child care can occur in various settings and is often classified based on these settings, such as in-home care, family child care (caregivers provide care in their own homes), and child care centers.

Child care services often extend beyond just watching the child and can include educational activities, organized play, and social interactions with peers. In many cases, child care providers also play an important role in the early education of children, helping to shape their social, emotional, and cognitive development. Additionally, child care providers often deliver basic needs such as meals and nap times and can help older children with homework and other school-related tasks.

Collective Work and Responsibility


Collective work and responsibility, often referred to as ‘Ujima’ or ‘active and informed togetherness in matters of common interest,’ is a recognition and respect for the fact that, without collective work and struggle, progress is impossible and liberation is unthinkable. It supports the assumption that ‘African’ is not merely an identity, but a destiny, a duty, a responsibility. Our collective identity in the long is a collective future. As a result, there as need for us as self conscious and committed people to shape our future with our own minds and hands and share the struggle together.


  • Karenga, M. (1997). Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture. University of Sankore Press.



Colonialism is a system of political governance or economic exploitation in which a powerful country (often referred to as the colonizer or metropole) exerts control and influence over a weaker country or region (known as the colony).

Historically, colonialism involved the migration of people from the colonizing country to the new territory, often leading to a significant alteration in the demographics of the colony. These settlers often established communities that mirrored the social and political structures of their home country, sometimes completely supplanting indigenous populations and cultures.

In the economic dimension, colonialism often involved the extraction and exportation of resources from the colonized territory to the benefit of the colonizing power. This could include raw materials like minerals, agricultural products, or human labor, often facilitated through systems of forced labor or enslavement.

Colonialism also had profound cultural and societal impacts on the colonized territories. The colonizers frequently imposed their language, religion, and societal norms on the local populations. Over time, these practices often resulted in the loss or marginalization of indigenous cultures, traditions, and languages.

Colonialism also extends to the realm of knowledge and academia, where Eurocentric perspectives have been historically dominant. This is often referred to as epistemic or intellectual colonialism, which marginalizes non-Western knowledge systems and epistemologies.

Colonialism is often intertwined with imperialism, another system of domination and control. While the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they do have distinct meanings: colonialism is often viewed as the practice or system through which imperialism achieves its goals.

Contemporary post-colonial and decolonial studies critically examine the impacts of colonialism, seeking to challenge its legacies and address its ongoing effects, particularly in the fields of education, research, culture, and societal structures.

See also: Decolonizing



Community is a dynamic and complex social construct that encompasses more than just a group of individuals. It is characterized by shared values, norms, customs, and a sense of belonging. Communities can be formed based on various factors, including geographic proximity, cultural or ethnic ties, shared interests, or common goals. They serve as platforms for social interaction, support, and collective action. Within a community, individuals form relationships, build social networks, and engage in reciprocal exchanges, contributing to a sense of cohesion and mutual support.

One crucial aspect of community is the development of a "sense of community," which refers to the subjective experience of belongingness, connectedness, and identification with a particular group. This sense of community arises from shared experiences, shared goals, and a feeling of being valued and accepted within the community.

Communities play a vital role in shaping individuals' identities, providing social support, and fostering a sense of purpose and meaning. They create spaces for collaboration, cooperation, and collective problem-solving. Communities can also serve as agents of change, advocating for social justice, and addressing community needs and concerns.

It is important to recognize that communities are not homogeneous entities. They are diverse, comprising individuals with different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. Community development and engagement efforts should strive to be inclusive, embracing diversity and promoting equity to ensure that all members have a voice and access to resources and opportunities.

In summary, community encompasses the social, cultural, and relational aspects of groups of individuals who come together around shared interests, values, and a sense of belonging. It provides a foundation for social cohesion, support, collective action, and the development of a shared identity and purpose.


Community Building Spaces


Areas or venues dedicated to fostering and enhancing social connections, collaboration, and communal activities. These spaces can be physical or virtual and are designed to promote community engagement, interaction, and cohesion among members.

Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)


CDFI stands for Community Development Financial Institution. It is a specialized financial institution that serves low-income and underserved communities by providing access to financial services and investments that support community development and economic empowerment. CDFIs are mission-driven organizations that aim to address financial gaps and promote economic inclusion in areas where traditional financial institutions may be less accessible.

CDFIs offer a range of financial products and services, such as affordable loans, credit, technical assistance, and financial education, to individuals, small businesses, affordable housing projects, and nonprofit organizations. They focus on supporting community development initiatives, including affordable housing development, small business startups and expansions, community facilities, and other projects that create jobs and improve the quality of life in underserved communities.

Community Organizing


Community organizing refers to a process by which individuals and groups within a community come together to identify common concerns, establish shared goals, and mobilize collective action to bring about social change and address community needs. It involves engaging community members, building relationships, developing leadership skills, and fostering collective power to influence decision-making processes and promote positive community development.

Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)


A U.S. federal law enacted in 1977 designed to encourage commercial banks and savings associations to meet the needs of borrowers in all segments of their communities, especially in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The CRA aims to prevent redlining, a discriminatory practice by which banks and other financial institutions refuse or limit loans, mortgages, and other financial services within specific, often racially determined, areas. Financial institutions are regularly assessed by federal regulators for their adherence to the CRA and are given ratings based on their performance in meeting community lending needs.

Community-based Research


Community-Based Research (CBR) is a collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. It begins with a research topic of importance to the community with the aim of combining knowledge and action for social change to improve the material conditions experienced by people in community. CBR often involves researchers working in partnership with community members, grassroots organizations, and other stakeholders.

Community-based Research Participants


Community-Based Research (CBR) participants are individuals from the community who actively engage in research projects that are based in their own community. In a CBR framework, community members, persons affected by the issues being studied, and organizational representatives are considered key stakeholders and equal partners in all phases of the research process. This includes defining the research question, data collection, interpretation of findings, and application of the results.

CBR emphasizes the importance of reciprocal relationships among research partners and aims to bridge the gap between research and practice, bringing multiple forms of expertise to address complex social problems. Thus, the role of community-based research participants goes beyond being subjects of study; they are collaborators and contributors to the research process.



Cooperation refers to the act of working or acting together for a common purpose or benefit. It is derived from the Latin word 'cooperari', meaning to "work together". It involves sharing knowledge, learning, and building consensus. Cooperation can occur among individuals, organizations, or nations and is considered a vital element in many aspects of life, including business, social, educational, and scientific endeavors.

Cooperation can be formal or informal, temporary or enduring, voluntary or compelled. For example, people might cooperate to organize a community event, companies might cooperate to develop new technology, or countries might cooperate on global issues like climate change or disease control.

Cultural Competency


Cultural competency is a comprehensive framework that encompasses knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to effectively engage and interact with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. It goes beyond simple awareness of cultural differences and involves a deeper understanding and appreciation of various cultural norms, values, beliefs, practices, and experiences.

At its core, cultural competency involves recognizing the inherent dignity and worth of all individuals, irrespective of their cultural background, and actively working to reduce biases, stereotypes, and discrimination. It includes developing the knowledge to understand the historical, social, and systemic factors that shape different cultures and the impact of culture on individuals' lives.

Cultural competency also encompasses developing the skills to communicate and interact respectfully and effectively with individuals from diverse cultures. This includes being able to adapt communication styles, understand non-verbal cues, and navigate cultural nuances. It involves actively listening, showing empathy, and demonstrating cultural sensitivity in order to build trust and rapport.

Moreover, cultural competency requires the cultivation of attitudes and beliefs that promote inclusivity, openness, and a willingness to learn from others. It involves recognizing and challenging one's own biases and assumptions, reflecting on cultural differences without judgment, and embracing diversity as a source of strength and enrichment.

By embracing cultural competency, individuals and organizations can foster inclusive environments, provide equitable services, and promote social justice. It plays a critical role in various fields, such as healthcare, education, social work, and business, where effective engagement with diverse populations is essential.


  • hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. Routledge.
  • Cross, T. L., Bazron, B. J., Dennis, K. W., & Isaacs, M. R. (1989). Towards a culturally competent system of care: A monograph on effective services for minority children who are severely emotionally disturbed. Georgetown University Child Development Center, CASSP Technical Assistance Center.
  • Sue, D. W., Arredondo, P., & McDavis, R. J. (1992). Multicultural counseling competencies and standards: A call to the profession. Journal of Counseling & Development, 70(4), 477-486.
  • Betancourt, J. R., Green, A. R., Carrillo, J. E., & Ananeh-Firempong, O., 2nd (2003). Defining cultural competence: a practical framework for addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care. Public health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974), 118(4), 293–302.

Cultural Heritage


Cultural heritage refers to the inherited customs, traditions, knowledge, beliefs, artistic expressions, artifacts, and practices that are passed down through generations within a particular community, society, or group. It encompasses tangible and intangible aspects of a culture and represents the collective identity and history of a community, often playing a significant role in shaping its values, norms, and sense of belonging.



Culture is a complex and multifaceted concept that encompasses the beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, traditions, and artifacts that characterize a particular group of people. It refers to the shared patterns of thought, communication, and behavior that are learned and transmitted across generations. Culture influences how individuals perceive the world, interact with others, and make sense of their experiences. It includes various dimensions such as language, religion, social norms, arts, cuisine, clothing, and rituals, among others. Culture plays a crucial role in shaping individual and collective identities, providing a framework for understanding and navigating the world.

Black culture, specifically referring to the diverse cultures and traditions of Black people, is rich and multifaceted, encompassing a range of experiences, histories, and expressions. Black culture is rooted in the experiences of African and African diaspora communities, forged through resilience, resistance, and a quest for liberation. It encompasses diverse elements, including but not limited to language, music (such as jazz, blues, gospel, hip-hop, and reggae), dance (such as various African and African diaspora dance forms), visual arts, literature, cuisine, fashion, spirituality, and social practices. Black culture is characterized by a strong sense of community, creativity, innovation, and the preservation of cultural heritage. It serves as a source of pride, identity, and empowerment for Black individuals and communities.


  • Bennett, B. (2015, July 15). Ta-Nehisi Coates and a Generation Waking Up. The New Yorker. Retrieved August 2, 2023, from
  • Hofstede, G. (2010). The culture's consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications.
  • Hall, S. (Ed.). (1997). Representation: Cultural representations and signifying practices (Vol. 2). Sage.
  • Herskovits, M. J. (1941). The myth of the Negro past. Beacon Press.



Curriculum refers to a structured plan or framework that outlines the goals, content, instructional methods, and assessments for a specific educational program or course. It encompasses the knowledge, skills, and experiences that students are expected to acquire during their educational journey. Curriculum development involves making decisions about what to teach, how to teach it, and how to assess student learning to ensure meaningful and effective education.




Decolonizing refers to the process of deconstructing the laws, structures, and ideologies set by a colonial power on a colonized region. Decolonizing challenges and changes these colonial influences, bringing the culture, history, and perspectives of the colonized into the forefront.

In academia and research, decolonizing involves critically assessing and challenging the dominant Western or Eurocentric perspectives that are often considered universal in various disciplines. It's about valuing and integrating the knowledge systems, methodologies, and perspectives of previously colonized or marginalized communities.

See also: Colonialism

Deliberative Dialogue


Deliberative dialogue, also known as deliberative discussion or deliberative conversation, refers to a structured and inclusive process that brings individuals together to engage in respectful and thoughtful conversations on complex issues. It involves creating a space where participants can share diverse perspectives, examine multiple viewpoints, and explore potential solutions or actions through open and constructive dialogue.

The purpose of deliberative dialogue is to foster democratic participation, informed decision-making, and collective problem-solving. It aims to deepen understanding, build consensus, and generate recommendations or actions that reflect the shared values and interests of the participants. Deliberative dialogues often involve facilitated discussions, guided by principles of active listening, mutual respect, and the exploration of common ground.

Democratic Community Control


Democratic community control refers to a framework in which local communities have the power and agency to make decisions and govern their own resources and affairs in a democratic manner. It emphasizes the participation, engagement, and decision-making of community members in shaping policies, programs, and initiatives that directly affect their lives. This approach seeks to challenge traditional top-down models of governance and promote grassroots democracy, community autonomy, and self-determination.



Demographics refer to the statistical characteristics of a population. These characteristics can include things like age, sex, income, education level, employment status, ethnicity, religion, and marital status. Researchers and marketers often use demographic information to understand more about a population's characteristics, needs, habits, and trends.



Diaspora refers to the dispersion or migration of a particular group of people from their original homeland or ancestral region to various locations around the world. It typically involves the spread of a community or culture across different geographical areas, often due to factors such as colonization, forced migration, or voluntary movement. Diaspora communities often maintain a collective consciousness and maintain connections with their ancestral homeland, while simultaneously adapting to and influencing the societies in which they reside.


  • Brah, A. (1996). Cartographies of diaspora: Contesting identities. Routledge.
  • Cohen, R. (2008). Global diasporas: An introduction (2nd ed.). Routledge.



Discrimination refers to the unjust or prejudiced treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, sex, or disability. In the context of Black peoples and communities, both historically and in contemporary society, discrimination often manifests as systemic biases and prejudice ingrained within social, political, and economic systems. These discriminatory practices and attitudes can impact various aspects of life, including employment, education, housing, healthcare, and the criminal justice system.

Historically, Black people have faced formalized systems of discrimination, such as slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow laws in the United States. These legal and societal structures enforced racial hierarchy, limited economic and educational opportunities, and severely constrained civil and political rights.

In contemporary times, the legacies of these discriminatory practices continue to manifest in systemic and institutional forms of discrimination. For example, in housing, the practice of redlining in the mid-20th century deprived Black communities of fair housing opportunities and access to loans, contributing to enduring wealth and neighborhood disparities. In the criminal justice system, racial profiling and biases in policing and sentencing disproportionately affect Black individuals.

In the labor market, studies have found persistent racial discrimination, with Black job applicants receiving fewer callbacks than equally qualified white applicants. In healthcare, racial disparities persist, with Black patients often receiving lower quality care than white patients.


  • Alexander, M. (2012). The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The New Press.
  • Massey, D. S., & Denton, N. A. (1993). American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass. Harvard University Press.



Disparities typically refer to differences or inequalities observed among subgroups of a population. These differences can occur across many dimensions, including race, gender, socioeconomic status, or geographic location.

In public health, for instance, health disparities refer to the higher burden of illness, injury, disability, or mortality experienced by one group relative to another. Similarly, educational disparities refer to inequalities in access, quality, and outcomes of education.

It's crucial to note that disparities often have significant implications for social justice because they frequently reflect systematic, societal inequalities.


Economic Mobility


Economic mobility in the United States, particularly upward mobility, has been on a decline over the past few decades. Upward mobility refers to the ability of an individual or family to improve their economic status within their lifetime or from one generation to the next. This decline in mobility has had significant implications for the overall wealth and income disparity in the country, and the impact has been especially pronounced for Black communities.

In the U.S., wealth has been highly concentrated among white households, which on average hold about six times as much wealth as Black households. A number of factors contribute to this disparity, including systemic racism, discriminatory housing policies, unequal educational opportunities, and labor market discrimination.

Systemic racism and discriminatory policies like redlining have historically limited Black families' access to wealth-building opportunities like homeownership. For example, the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing, was only enacted in 1968, and the effects of decades of legal housing discrimination continue to be felt today. Due to these and other factors, Black households are less likely to own their homes compared to white households, limiting their opportunities to build wealth.

Inequality in education further contributes to the decline in economic mobility for Black communities. Schools with predominantly Black student populations tend to have fewer resources, less-experienced teachers, and lower overall funding than schools serving mainly white students. This can affect the quality of education and limit the opportunities for students from these schools, leading to lower earnings in adulthood.

The impact of labor market discrimination should also not be underestimated. Studies have shown that Black individuals are often paid less than their white counterparts for doing the same jobs and are less likely to be hired for certain positions or promoted within a company.


  • Anderson, C. (2001). PowerNomics: The National Plan to Empower Black America. PowerNomics Corporation of America.
  • Lee Enterprises, Dataherald. (2023, July 15). Interactive: Charts that show how the economy is performing in Winston-Salem and North Carolina. Winston-Salem Journal.
  • Coates, T. (2014).The Case for Reparations, The Atlantic,
  • Chetty, R., Hendren, N., Jones, M. R., & Porter, S. R. (2020). Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 135(2), 711–783.
  • Hamilton, D., & Darity, W. (2017). The political economy of education, financial literacy, and the racial wealth gap. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, First Quarter 2017, 99(1), 59-76.
  • Bhutta, N., Chang, A. C., Dettling, L. J., & Hsu, J. W. (2020). Disparities in Wealth by Race and Ethnicity in the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances. FEDS Notes. Washington: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.



Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. It often takes place under the guidance of educators or teachers, but learners can also educate themselves through self-directed learning. Education can take place in formal or informal settings, and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational.

Education typically falls into three main categories:

  • Formal Education: This is the structured education system that we're familiar with, starting at preschool, and evolving into primary school, secondary school, and then possibly further education through college or university.
  • Informal Education: This type of education refers to the general learning we do in daily life. It's a lifelong process, taking place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Non-formal Education: This includes any organized educational activity outside the established formal education system. Examples could be short-term workshops or long-term community programs.

In a broader sense, education also implies the entire process of developing and training the mental and physical capacities and abilities of individuals, thereby helping them reach their full potential and preparing them to participate fully in society.

See also: Popular Education



Entrepreneurship is the activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit. It involves the development of a business plan, acquisition of resources, and the management of the new venture to allow it to grow and prosper. Entrepreneurs are innovators, often coming up with new ideas for products, services, or methods of doing business.

Environmental Justice


Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. It advocates for fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens, access to decision making, and recognition of community knowledge.

The concept also addresses environmental racism, a term that encapsulates the societal structures that disproportionately expose certain racial and ethnic communities to higher levels of environmental risk.



Equity refers to the state, quality, or ideal of being just, impartial, and fair. The concept is often associated with social justice, and it's applied in considerations of fairness and justice within social, economic, health, and educational contexts, among others.

In practical terms, equity is about ensuring people have access to the same opportunities, but recognizing that advantages and barriers exist for different people. Therefore, it's not about promoting equal treatment for all, but rather equitable treatment that acknowledges and adjusts for these differences.

In education, for instance, equity would mean that personal or social circumstances such as gender, ethnic origin, or family background are not obstacles to achieving educational potential and that all individuals are provided the support needed to realize their full potential.

In health, equity refers to the absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically, or geographically.

In economic context, equity concerns the distribution of assets, resources, and income, and is often tied to concepts of economic fairness and justice.



From a personal or household perspective, expenses refer to the money spent on goods and services for daily living. These typically include costs for housing (such as rent or mortgage payments), food, transportation, healthcare, clothing, education, utilities (like electricity, water, and internet), entertainment, and savings for future needs or emergencies.


Financial Literacy


Financial literacy refers to the knowledge, skills, and understanding of financial concepts, tools, and practices that enable individuals to make informed decisions regarding their personal finances. It involves the ability to effectively manage money, budget, save, invest, and navigate financial institutions. Financial literacy empowers individuals to make sound financial decisions, plan for the future, and achieve financial well-being.

Food Desert


A food desert (also referred to as food access in this report) refers to an area, typically in urban or rural settings, where residents have limited access to affordable and nutritious food options. These areas are often characterized by a lack of grocery stores, supermarkets, or fresh food retailers within a reasonable distance. As a result, individuals living in food deserts face challenges in obtaining healthy and culturally appropriate food choices, leading to higher reliance on unhealthy processed foods and limited access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

There is a notable connection between food deserts and Black communities in the United States. Studies have shown that predominantly Black neighborhoods are more likely to be food deserts, facing limited access to quality supermarkets and fresh food retailers compared to predominantly white neighborhoods. This disparity can be attributed to a range of factors, including systemic racism, socioeconomic inequalities, discriminatory retail practices, and historical disinvestment in Black communities.

Addressing the issue of food deserts in Black communities requires comprehensive approaches, such as increasing the availability of affordable and nutritious food options, supporting community gardens and farmers' markets, implementing policies to incentivize supermarkets to locate in underserved areas, and promoting urban agriculture initiatives.

Quantitative sections of this report describe census tracts as food deserts if they meet the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) definition of low-income and have limited access to supermarkets. Limited access to supermarkets is defined as either 1) there being more than 100 housing units that do not have a vehicle and are more than half a minle from the closest supermarket or 2) many residents are more than 20 miles away from the closest supermarket. The USDA defines a census tract as low income if it has a poverty rate of 20% or higher or if the mediian income for that tract is less than 80% of the median income for the state or metropolitan area.




Gentrification is a complex socio-economic process that involves the transformation of historically underinvested neighborhoods due to an influx of higher-income residents and real estate development. This process can lead to economic revitalization and the improvement of neighborhood amenities, but it often disproportionately impacts marginalized communities, particularly Black communities.

For Black communities, gentrification often leads to displacement due to skyrocketing housing prices and property taxes. It can result in the erasure of cultural history as long-standing businesses and community centers may be replaced by new development tailored to the preferences of wealthier newcomers. This can disrupt community networks and contribute to a sense of cultural and social loss.

Moreover, the associated economic development and increased policing that often accompany gentrification can contribute to a systemic pattern of racial inequality. Despite potential improvements in neighborhood services, the original residents, often people of color, may not reap the benefits if they're displaced or economically marginalized in the process.


  • Anderson, E. (2011). The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life. W.W. Norton & Company.
  • Hyra, D. (2017). Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City. University of Chicago Press.
  • Pattillo, M. (2007). Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City. University of Chicago Press.
  • Marcuse, P. (1985). Gentrification, Abandonment, and Displacement: Connections, Causes, and Policy Responses in New York City. Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law, 28(1), 195-240.



A griot is a West African storyteller, historian, musician, and oral tradition keeper who holds an esteemed role within their community. Griots are responsible for preserving and transmitting the history, cultural heritage, and values of their people through oral narratives, songs, poetry, and music. They serve as custodians of collective memory, passing down knowledge from generation to generation and playing a vital role in preserving the cultural identity and continuity of their community.


  • Niane, D. T. (2006). Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali. Pearson.
  • Skinner, E. P. (2001). Griots and Griottes: Masters of Words and Music. Indiana University Press.


HIghway 52


The construction of Highway 52 in Forsyth County, North Carolina, stands as a poignant example of how historical urban planning and transportation policies have contributed to racial segregation and disenfranchisement in American cities. This highway, known as the physical dividing line in Winston-Salem, serves as a barrier that separates predominantly Black communities from predominantly white ones.

During the mid-20th century, a period marked by the development of interstates and major highways, decision-makers often located these transportation projects in low-income and predominantly Black neighborhoods due, in part, to lower property values in these areas, reducing the cost of land acquisition for construction.

However, the placement of such highways had detrimental effects on the affected communities. In the case of Highway 52 in Forsyth County, it led to the displacement of Black residents, destruction of homes and businesses, and fragmentation of established Black neighborhoods. Moreover, the highway's presence effectively cut off these communities from the city's economic, educational, and social resources, contributing to racial and socio-economic segregation. The design of the highway, including limited crossing points, discouraged movement between the predominantly Black and white areas of the city.

In 1948, North Carolina experienced a severe polio outbreak, providing local authorities in Winston-Salem with an opportunity for urban renewal. Utilizing rhetoric that scapegoated poor Black neighborhoods as the source of the disease, city leaders sought to reshape Winston-Salem both physically and mentally. By framing these neighborhoods as a supposed threat to the white way of life, policymakers used terms like "urban renewal," "uplift," and "slum clearance" to justify removing the city's poorest Black residents. 

This process displaced Black communities like Monkey Bottom, The Shakes, and Columbian Heights to pave the way for commercial property, industrial space, and the construction of Highway 52. 

Columbian Heights is the neighborhood immediately surrounding Winston-Salem State University. It was founded by Simon Green Atkins in the 1890s and it was part of his twin vision of promoting Black education and homeownership. During the age of Jim Crow, Columbian Heights was home to many Black professionals: teachers, business owners, firemen, etc. It was a stable Black neighborhood.

The urban renewal policies of this era effectively contributed to racial segregation and the disenfranchisement of Black communities. Highway 52, cutting through East Winston's Black and brown neighborhoods, symbolizes the institutionalization of separate and unequal geography, perpetuating historical disparities in Winston-Salem.

Today, Highway 52 remains a stark symbol of racial segregation within Forsyth County. The predominantly Black neighborhoods on the eastern side of the highway face economic and social challenges, including higher poverty rates, under-resourced schools, and limited access to healthcare facilities. Conversely, the predominantly white neighborhoods on the western side generally enjoy better access to resources and opportunities.

While it is essential to acknowledge that many other factors contribute to these disparities, the role of urban planning decisions, such as the construction of Highway 52, should not be underestimated. They serve as enduring physical manifestations of systemic racism, further entrenching segregation and inequality in the community. Efforts to address these historic injustices are ongoing, but significant challenges remain.




Health, as broadly defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity but encompasses a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. This definition demonstrates the multidimensionality of health, incorporating various aspects of an individual's life.

Physical health relates to the functional operation of body systems and organs. It primarily focuses on an individual's physical condition, determined by factors such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, adequate rest, and appropriate medical care. It's the most noticeable aspect of health, as most health issues manifest physically. However, it's important to note that physical health doesn't stand alone but is intertwined with all other aspects of health.

Mental health, as described by the American Psychological Association, is a state of well-being where individuals realize their own potential, can cope with ordinary life stresses, can work productively and fruitfully, and contribute to their communities. Mental health is a crucial part of overall health as it influences how we think, feel, and act. It also plays a part in determining how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is critical at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Emotional health refers to our capacity to handle emotions, reactions, and relationships effectively. It's the ability to identify and manage one's emotions, whether positive (like joy and love) or negative (like fear, anger, and sadness). A strong emotional health base equips us to tackle emotional challenges, recover from personal issues, and adapt to change and stress without severe disruption.

Social health encompasses our ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with others. It reflects how comfortably we interact and form meaningful relationships with other people, adapt in social situations, and our sense of belonging. Socially healthy individuals can effectively navigate and maintain comfortable relationships in family, school, work, and social situations.

Spiritual health pertains to a sense of coherence, meaning, and purpose in life. It often revolves around individuals' values, beliefs, purpose, identity, and ethics. While some people may find their spiritual health rooted in organized religion, others may seek it through other sources such as art, nature, or connections with others. Spiritual health can provide a source of strength, resilience, and comfort.

Cultural health refers to how cultural norms, practices, and values influence individuals' health behaviors and perceptions. It is about acknowledging and respecting the diverse cultural experiences that impact an individual's approach to healthcare, including how they perceive illness, how they seek and engage with health services, and the health practices and traditions they maintain.

In conclusion, the holistic perspective on health involves a comprehensive approach that considers the interplay of physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and cultural factors. By addressing health from this holistic perspective, individuals, communities, and healthcare providers can work towards health strategies that encompass the full range of human experiences and needs.

Health Insurance


Health insurance refers to a contractual agreement between an individual or a group and an insurance provider, which offers financial coverage for medical expenses. It aims to mitigate the financial burden associated with healthcare services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, and preventive care. Health insurance policies typically involve the payment of regular premiums in exchange for access to a specified range of covered healthcare services.

The relationship between health insurance and Black communities in the US is multifaceted. Studies have shown that Black individuals and communities face disparities in health insurance coverage compared to their white counterparts. Factors contributing to these disparities include systemic inequities, socioeconomic disadvantages, discriminatory practices, and barriers to access.

African Americans have historically experienced higher uninsured rates, which can lead to reduced access to healthcare services, delayed medical care, and increased financial strain. Lack of health insurance can contribute to health disparities, as individuals without coverage may forego or delay necessary medical treatments or preventive care.

Efforts to address health insurance disparities in Black communities have focused on expanding access to affordable coverage through initiatives like the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid expansion. These policies aim to increase health insurance enrollment, reduce financial barriers, and improve access to necessary healthcare services for underserved populations, including Black communities.




Homeownership refers to the state or condition of owning a home, rather than renting or leasing. Homeownership is often seen as a key component of the 'American Dream,' representing economic stability, independence, and an opportunity to accumulate wealth. It also impacts the social dynamics of a community, with studies suggesting homeowners are more likely to be involved in community activities and local governance.

Housing Cost Burden


Housing cost burden (also referred to as rent cost burden in this report) refers to the situation where a household spends a significant proportion of its income on housing expenses. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines households that spend 30% or more of their income on housing costs as "cost-burdened," and those that spend 50% or more as "severely cost-burdened.” This can include expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, taxes, and maintenance.

A high housing cost burden can significantly impact the financial stability, health, and overall well-being of a household. When a substantial portion of income is allocated to housing, it can restrict a family's ability to invest in other necessary areas such as education, health care, transportation, or saving for emergencies, leading to financial instability and exacerbating existing poverty. The financial stress and limited resources can also have indirect effects on physical and mental health outcomes.

Moreover, severe housing cost burden can lead to housing instability and increased risk of eviction, as households may not be able to cover their housing costs in the event of unexpected expenses or a sudden job loss. This instability can disrupt children's education, as families may be forced to move frequently and may not be able to afford to live in neighborhoods with high-quality schools. Lastly, high housing cost burdens can hinder community involvement and the building of social connections, as families dealing with housing instability may struggle to access local resources and support.

Housing Quality


Housing quality refers to the overall condition and suitability of a residential dwelling, encompassing various aspects that determine its habitability, safety, comfort, and functionality. It involves evaluating the physical attributes, structural integrity, environmental conditions, and amenities of a housing unit.

Key factors considered in assessing housing quality include:

  • Structural Integrity: The soundness and stability of the building's structure, including walls, foundation, roof, and floors.
  • Safety: The presence of safety features such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, secure locks, and absence of health hazards like lead-based paint, mold, or asbestos.
  • Sanitation and Hygiene: The availability of clean water, proper sewage disposal, functioning plumbing systems, and adequate waste management.
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC): The provision of adequate heating, cooling, and ventilation systems to maintain a comfortable and healthy indoor environment.
  • Electrical and Lighting: The presence of reliable electrical systems, sufficient lighting, and compliance with safety standards to minimize electrical hazards.
  • Space and Amenities: The sufficiency of living space, appropriate number of rooms, access to basic amenities like kitchens, bathrooms, and necessary fixtures.
  • Accessibility: The consideration of accessibility features for individuals with disabilities or mobility limitations to ensure equal opportunity and ease of use.

Assessing and improving housing quality is vital for promoting residents' well-being, health, and overall quality of life.




Identity refers to a person's understanding, perception, and sense of self, encompassing various aspects of individuality, such as personal characteristics, beliefs, values, cultural affiliations, and social roles. It is shaped by internal factors, including personal experiences and self-reflection, as well as external influences, such as societal norms, cultural contexts, and interpersonal relationships. Identity is a dynamic and multifaceted concept that evolves over time and can intersect with other dimensions of a person's identity, such as race, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity.

See also: Intersectionality

Learn more:



Inclusion refers to the practice of ensuring that individuals of all backgrounds, abilities, and identities are welcomed, valued, and actively involved in all aspects of social, cultural, economic, and political life. It involves creating an environment that embraces diversity, promotes equal opportunities, and respects the rights and dignity of every person. Inclusion goes beyond mere representation and seeks to remove barriers, address systemic inequalities, and foster a sense of belonging for everyone.



From a personal or household perspective, income refers to the total amount of money earned by an individual or a household over a specific period of time. This income can come from various sources such as salaries or wages from employment, profits from businesses or self-employment, returns from investments (like dividends or interest), rental income from properties, pensions, social benefits, or any other money received on a regular basis.

Income Insufficiency


Income insufficiency is a measure of financial hardship that compares a household's income to their estimated expenses. This concept offers a more comprehensive picture of financial instability than traditional poverty rates, accounting for demographic and geographic factors, as well as temporal changes in expenses. Households are considered income insufficient when their incomes fall below the estimated cost of living. 

This definition is specific to the quantitative measure referenced in this report. For more information on how income insufficiency is defined and measured see the income insufficiency section on the Data and Tables page.



Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising, and, subsequently, purchasing power is falling. Central banks attempt to limit inflation — and avoid deflation — in order to keep the economy running smoothly.

In other words, inflation is an economic term that refers to an environment of generally rising prices of goods and services within a particular economy. As general prices rise, with all things unchanged, people tend to buy less as their money has less purchasing power. Over time, inflation erodes the purchasing power of money. That is, you would need more money to buy the same amount of goods or services in the future compared to now.

Innovation Quarter


The Innovation Quarter, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a hub for research, business, and education in biomedical science, information technology, clinical services, and advanced materials. It's an enterprise of Wake Forest School of Medicine and part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The Innovation Quarter is known for encouraging collaboration and innovation. The facilities include state-of-the-art research labs and classrooms, co-working spaces, and even residential and recreational spaces. The quarter has been instrumental in attracting tech startups, established companies, and renowned researchers, fostering economic development in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

It is important to acknowledge that the land upon which the Innovation Quarter is built was once home to the heart of Winston-Salem's Black community. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Depot Street (today's Patterson Avenue) played a vital role in Black life in early Winston. It served as the cultural and social center of the Black community, housing real estate offices, doctors' and lawyers' offices, drugstores, printing presses, barbershops, beauty shops, funeral homes, churches, movie theaters, and cafes. Of particular significance was the Depot Street Graded School, established in 1887—the first public school for Black children in Winston. Under the leadership of Simon Green Atkins, it expanded to become the largest and most significant public school for Black children and youth in North Carolina, offering primary and high school education as well as industrial training.

A historic marker can be found on the grounds of the Innovation Quarter, acknowledging this history: "Depot Street Graded School Site. When built in 1887, the Depot Street Graded School was the largest and most important public school for African Americans in North Carolina. Education pioneer, Dr. Simon Green Atkins, came to Winston as principal of the school in 1890. Under Atkins' leadership, the school expanded in 1894 and became home to Winston's first African American high school in 1895. The Depot Street Graded School burned in the 1920s.

Today, the Innovation Quarter stands as a symbol of innovation for Winston-Salem, and there have been efforts to use the venue to educate and spread awareness about the rich history and contributions of the Black community.




An institution refers to an established organization, structure, or system that performs specific functions and serves a particular purpose within society. Institutions can encompass formal entities, such as government bodies, educational institutions, and legal systems, as well as informal systems and practices that shape social interactions and behavior.

In the context of systemic injustices, institutions play a crucial role. They can perpetuate or challenge existing inequalities and power imbalances within society. Certain institutions may have embedded biases, discriminatory practices, or unequal distribution of resources, resulting in systemic injustices that disproportionately affect marginalized and disadvantaged groups.



Intersectionality is a socio-political concept that offers a lens through which to examine the multiple layers of inequality that affect an individual and how different forms of discrimination interact. In 1989, Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term as a way to help explain the overlapping layers of oppression of African American women in her essay "Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Anti-discrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics". Intersectionality, defined by Crenshaw as “a prism for seeing the way in which various forms of inequality often operate together and exacerbate each other,” recognizes that multiple sources of oppression can disadvantage individuals: their race, socioeconomic class, gender, sexuality, religion, and other identity markers.

Rather than viewing these elements separately, intersectionality examines how these forms of discrimination are interconnected and calls for an analysis of co-occurring and mutually reinforcing forms of inequality. It acknowledges that people's experiences of privilege or oppression are complex and multidimensional and rejects the idea that people's identities can be simplified or divided into separate categories. For example, a person who identifies as a woman of color with a disability would face discrimination unique to the intersection of these specific identities.

Originally, intersectionality centered on feminism, highlighting how women face multiple and varying levels of discrimination. For example, a woman of color who is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community will face more discrimination than a straight white woman. Today, intersectionality has spread beyond feminism to describe how members of marginalized groups can meet stacked inequalities that stem from multiple facets of their identities.

In contemporary academic and social discourse, intersectionality is a lens to analyze societal structures and cultural patterns, illuminating dynamics that might not be visible otherwise. It's used in various fields, such as sociology, psychology, politics, gender studies, and more, to deepen the understanding of social inequality and to promote social justice.

See also: Identity





Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is an annual holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. It specifically celebrates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Juneteenth has become a symbol of freedom, African American heritage, and the ongoing struggle for racial equality.




Justice, a concept with multiple dimensions and interpretations, is generally understood as moral rightness based on ethics, law, fairness, and equity. It involves the enactment of both rewards and punishments to maintain this sense of rightness and legality. There are several categories into which justice can be divided.

Distributive justice refers to the equitable allocation of assets, resources, and privileges across society. It focuses on issues such as the fair distribution of wealth, access to resources, and socioeconomic inequalities.

Retributive justice, on the other hand, is concerned with the just imposition of punishments or penalties on those who have violated laws or rules. It's grounded in the principle of proportionality, where the punishment must be proportionate to the crime committed.

A third category, restorative justice, shifts the focus towards reconciliation, healing, and the restoration of harmony. Rather than emphasizing punishment, restorative justice seeks to repair the harm caused by a wrongdoing, involving all stakeholders – the offender, the victim, and the community – in the process of achieving justice.

Finally, procedural justice refers to the fairness and transparency of processes leading to outcomes. It does not directly concern the distribution of resources, but rather the procedures and processes that dictate these distributions. It underscores the importance of impartiality, openness, and respect for the rights of all parties involved in decision-making processes.

In all its forms, the concept of justice remains central to societal cohesion, maintaining a balance between individual rights and communal harmony.


Labor Union


A labor union, also known as a trade union, is an organized association of workers, often in a particular industry, that collectively advocate for their rights and interests. Labor unions aim to negotiate with employers over issues related to working conditions, wages, hours, and other aspects of workers' compensation and rights. They often work through collective bargaining and industrial action, and they also provide legal representation and support to their members in disputes with management over violations of labor rights.

See also: ‘Right to Work’ State

Livable Income


"Livable Income," also often referred to as a "living wage", is the income level that allows an individual or family to afford adequate shelter, food, and other basic necessities. The goal of a livable income is to ensure that individuals or families can live above the poverty line and meet their basic needs without government assistance. The amount considered as a livable income can vary greatly depending on geographical location, family size, and specific needs.


Margin of Error


Margin of error is a measure used in statistics to express the amount of random sampling error in a survey's results. It shows how much the results might differ from the actual or real value being measured. For example, if a survey result is 50% with a margin of error of 3%, the real result could be anywhere between 47% and 53%.



Marginalization refers to the process by which individuals or groups are pushed to the edges or periphery of society, often resulting in their exclusion from the resources, opportunities, and power structures that are available to the dominant or privileged groups in society. Marginalized individuals or groups may experience social, economic, and political disadvantages, leading to their limited participation and influence within society.



Matriculate is a verb that refers to the process of being formally admitted or enrolled into a college or university, often as an undergraduate student. After the enrollment process is complete, a student is said to have matriculated at that institution.

The term can also be used more generally to refer to the progression from one grade or level to another within an educational system.

Median Income


Median income refers to the income amount that divides a population into two equal groups, half having income above that amount, and half having income below that amount. This is different from the average, or mean, income, which is calculated by dividing the total income of a population by the number of individuals or households. Because the median is the middle point of a distribution, it is less affected by extremely high or low incomes and can provide a more accurate picture of a population's typical income.



Methodology refers to the systematic approach and set of procedures employed in a research study or investigation to answer research questions, test hypotheses, or explore a particular phenomenon. It outlines the overall design, data collection methods, analysis techniques, and ethical considerations that guide the research process. The methodology provides a framework for researchers to gather reliable and valid data and draw meaningful conclusions.



The term "monolith" has multiple meanings depending on the context in which it is used. In general, a monolith refers to a large, singular, and uniform entity or structure that lacks diversity or variation. It can also be used metaphorically to describe a situation where there is a lack of diversity in thought, opinion, or representation.




Narrative refers to the storytelling or representation of events, experiences, or a series of connected events in a coherent and meaningful way. It involves the construction of a plot, characters, setting, and a sequence of events that convey a particular message, theme, or understanding. Narratives play a crucial role in shaping human understanding, communication, and meaning-making processes.

Societal narratives encompass the stories, beliefs, and interpretations that shape the collective understanding and identity of a society or community. They often reflect the historical, political, and cultural values, ideologies, and norms of a particular group or nation. Societal narratives can include historical accounts, myths, legends, national narratives, and shared cultural symbols that contribute to a shared sense of identity and shape social cohesion.

Cultural narratives are specific to a particular culture or cultural group. They encompass the stories, rituals, customs, and traditions that are passed down through generations within a cultural community. Cultural narratives play a crucial role in preserving and transmitting cultural heritage, values, and knowledge. They help to define the identity and worldview of a cultural group, providing a sense of belonging and continuity.

These societal and cultural narratives have a significant impact on how individuals and communities perceive themselves and others. They shape collective memory, influence social norms, and can perpetuate dominant power structures or challenge them. Societal and cultural narratives can reinforce stereotypes, biases, and inequalities, but they can also be powerful tools for cultural preservation, social change, and fostering understanding among diverse groups.

Neighborhood Agriculture


Neighborhood agriculture refers to the practice of cultivating food and growing plants within urban or suburban neighborhoods, typically on a small scale. It involves the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and sometimes even raising small livestock or poultry for personal consumption or local distribution. Neighborhood agriculture often takes place in community gardens, backyard plots, rooftop gardens, or shared urban spaces, promoting local food production and enhancing food security within communities.

Neighborhood agriculture initiatives aim to foster sustainable and resilient food systems, increase access to fresh and nutritious produce, promote community engagement, and enhance environmental sustainability in urban areas. It can contribute to building stronger social connections, improving health and nutrition, and supporting local economies.


Qualitative Data


Qualitative data refers to non-numerical information that is often descriptive and more difficult to measure than quantitative data. It encompasses various types of information such as personal experiences, descriptions, behaviors, emotions, beliefs, and cultural phenomena, among other aspects. Qualitative data is typically collected through methods like interviews, focus groups, observations, and textual analysis.

Unlike quantitative data, qualitative data seeks to explain 'how' and 'why' a particular phenomenon is occurring rather than 'how much' or 'how many', which is the focus of quantitative data. The goal of qualitative research is to gain a deep understanding of a specific organization, event, or phenomenon.

Quantitative Data


Quantitative data refers to numerical information that can be measured or counted. It is often associated with structured data collection methods such as surveys, experiments, or observations, and can be represented statistically. This type of data is used when a researcher aims to quantify variables and generalize results from a sample to a population of interest.

Quantitative data can be further categorized as either discrete or continuous. Discrete data are countable values, often integers, such as the number of students in a class. Continuous data are measurable quantities that often include fractions or decimals, such as the weight of an individual or the temperature of a room.


R.J. Reynolds


R.J. Reynolds, born as Richard Joshua Reynolds, was an American businessman and entrepreneur. He is best known as the founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, one of the largest and most influential tobacco companies in the United States.

R.J. Reynolds was born on July 20, 1850, in Patrick County, Virginia. He started his career in the tobacco industry by working for his father's tobacco farm and later established his own tobacco company in 1875. Reynolds revolutionized the industry by introducing mass production techniques and innovative marketing strategies, such as the iconic Camel cigarettes brand.

Throughout his career, Reynolds played a significant role in shaping the tobacco industry and its impact on society. His company became a major player in the American tobacco market and had a profound influence on cigarette manufacturing, advertising, and product development.

However, it's important to note that the tobacco industry, including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, has faced criticism and legal challenges regarding the health risks associated with smoking and marketing practices targeting vulnerable populations.




Racism is an extensive socio-political system where societal members are treated differently based on their racial or ethnic backgrounds. It is deeply ingrained in societies, institutions, and individuals, and is grounded in a hierarchy that ranks people based on their presumed racial superiority or inferiority. This ranking often leads to the dominant group accruing benefits at the expense of other groups.

​​Carter G. Woodson, often referred to as the "Father of Black History," was a pioneering African American historian, author, and journalist. He is best known for establishing Black History Month in the United States, but his writings and scholarship also delved deep into understanding the experiences and contributions of Black Americans throughout history.

A significant part of Woodson's theory about the connections between slavery and the racist ideal revolved around the concept of "mis-education." In his seminal work, "The Mis-Education of the Negro" (1933), Woodson argued that the education system in the U.S. indoctrinated Black Americans to accept white superiority and Black inferiority, essentially perpetuating racial hierarchies and the racist status quo.

Concerning the connections between slavery and racist ideals:

  • Racism as a Justification for Slavery: Woodson believed that racism served as an ideological tool to justify the institution of slavery. By propagating notions of African inferiority, European and white American slaveholders and proponents of slavery could defend the institution as a necessary and even beneficial system.
  • Economic and Social Dependence: Slavery, for Woodson, wasn't just an economic system but also a social institution that shaped perceptions and beliefs. By presenting Black individuals as dependent, subservient, and inferior, white society was able to maintain a system where Black labor benefited white economic interests. The continued racist portrayals of Black individuals even after the end of slavery were deeply connected to these foundational racist beliefs born out of the institution of slavery.

Education and Indoctrination: Woodson placed significant emphasis on the role of education in perpetuating racist ideals. He believed that both Black and white students were taught a skewed version of history and societal values that celebrated white accomplishments while minimizing or maligning Black contributions. This mis-education, in Woodson's view, was a direct outgrowth of the ideological systems developed to justify slavery, and it persisted long after slavery's end.

In essence, Carter G. Woodson argued that the racist ideas perpetuated to justify slavery did not disappear with the end of the institution. Instead, they became deeply embedded in American society, culture, and education, continually reinforcing racial hierarchies and white supremacy.

Racism can manifest in various forms:

  • Individual Racism: This form of racism is based on individual beliefs, attitudes, and actions that perpetuate stereotypes and prejudice against certain racial or ethnic groups. It can include both explicit acts of racial bigotry and more subtle, unconscious biases.
  • Interpersonal Racism: This refers to the racism that occurs between individuals. It happens when individuals interact and their personal racial beliefs affect their public interactions.
  • Institutional Racism: This refers to policies, practices, and procedures of institutions that have a disproportionately negative effect on certain racial or ethnic groups. These discriminatory practices are often codified in the institution’s culture, norms, or rules and may appear neutral but have the effect of reinforcing racial disparities.
  • Systemic or Structural Racism: This form of racism involves the cumulative and compounding effects of factors such as inequality in opportunities, social stratification, and the unjust application of laws across racial and ethnic groups. It is a form of racism that is embedded in the laws, regulations, rules, and procedures of society and its institutions that lead to differential outcomes by race.

Racism can result in a wide range of social, economic, and health disparities, from income inequality and educational achievement gaps to disparities in health outcomes and rates of incarceration.


  • Woodson, C. G. (1933). The Mis-Education of the Negro. Associated Publishers.
  • Adelman, L. (Executive Producer), Herbes-Sommers, C., Strain, T., & Smith, L. (Producers), & Cheng, J. (Series Co-Producer). (2003). The Difference Between Us. In Race and the Power of an Illusion [DVD]. California Newsreel.
  • CBS Mornings. (2021, November 2). Michael Eric Dyson on race in America [Video]. YouTube.
  • Dyson, M. E. (2021). Entertaining Race: Performing Blackness in America. St. Martin's Press.
  • Bouie, J. (2023, July 13). Racism and race: John Roberts' two-step. Portside, Material of Interest to People on the Left.
  • Kendi, I. X. (2019). How to be an Antiracist. One World/Ballantine.
  • Jones, C. P. (2000). Levels of racism: a theoretic framework and a gardener's tale. American journal of public health, 90(8), 1212–1215.
  • Coats, T. (2022). Ta-Nahesi Coates Discusses Race, Law and Politics with Georgetown Professor.

Recreation Centers


Recreation centers, also known as community centers or leisure centers, are facilities that provide a range of recreational and social activities for individuals and communities. These centers serve as gathering places where people can engage in various sports, fitness programs, cultural events, educational activities, and social interactions. Recreation centers often offer amenities such as sports courts, swimming pools, fitness equipment, classrooms, meeting spaces, and organized programs for people of all ages.

Recreation centers hold particular significance for Black communities in the United States. They play a crucial role in fostering community engagement, promoting physical and mental well-being, and addressing social and cultural needs. These centers can serve as safe spaces that offer opportunities for leisure, personal development, social connection, and community building.

Historically, recreation centers have provided Black communities with important resources, particularly during times of segregation and limited access to public facilities. They have served as places where African Americans could gather, participate in recreational activities, and create supportive networks. Recreation centers have played a role in nurturing talent in sports and arts, providing platforms for cultural expression, and empowering individuals and communities.

Research has emphasized the positive impact of recreation centers on Black communities, including promoting physical health, fostering social cohesion, enhancing personal development, and addressing disparities in access to recreational opportunities. These centers contribute to the overall well-being of Black individuals and communities by offering spaces for cultural preservation, community organizing, and empowerment.


  • Davis, L., & Rice, W. (1994). African Americans in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County: A pictorial history. Walsworth Publishing.



Redlining is a discriminatory practice that began in the United States in the 1930s, where financial institutions, insurance companies, and other organizations systematically denied or limited financial services in specific neighborhoods, most commonly in urban, racialized communities. The term "redlining" originates from the color-coded maps created by the federal Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC). On these maps, areas deemed "hazardous" for investment, often those inhabited by African Americans or immigrants, were outlined in red.

The effects of redlining were far-reaching and devastating, leading to disinvestment in these neighborhoods, exacerbated poverty, and perpetuation of socioeconomic disparities. Despite being outlawed in the late 20th century, the legacy of redlining continues to contribute to racial wealth gaps and segregation in American cities.




Representation refers to the act or process of depicting, reflecting, or presenting individuals, groups, or concepts in a manner that accurately portrays their diversity, experiences, perspectives, and interests. It involves providing a voice, visibility, and inclusion for historically marginalized or underrepresented groups in various domains, such as media, politics, education, and decision-making processes.

Learn more:

  • Crenshaw, K. (2016 ). Critical Race Theory in Education: All God’s Children Got a Song. Routledge. .



Resilience refers to the ability to adapt, recover, and bounce back in the face of adversity, challenges, or significant life stressors. It involves the capacity to maintain mental, emotional, and physical well-being, as well as positive functioning, in the midst of difficult circumstances. Resilience is characterized by the ability to harness internal and external resources, draw upon personal strengths, and cultivate coping strategies to navigate and overcome adversity.



At the personal or household level, revenue refers to all the money that is brought into the household from various sources before any deductions or expenses. This could include salaries or wages from jobs, returns from investments, income from self-employment, rental income, social security or pension payments, alimony, and any other sources of income.

It's important to note that this is a gross revenue figure. To find the net income (the amount available for saving or spending), one would need to subtract any expenses or costs such as taxes, living expenses, loan repayments, and other liabilities.

‘Right to Work’ State


A "right-to-work" state is one that has enacted legislation prohibiting agreements between labor unions and employers that make membership in a union, or payment of union dues, a requirement for employment. These laws are rooted in Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which allows states to pass such legislation. As of 2021, there were 27 "right-to-work" states in the United States.

While the stated purpose of "right-to-work" laws is to protect workers' freedom of association and choice, critics argue that these laws weaken labor unions, depress wages, and lead to more unsafe workplaces.

See also: Labor Union


  • Hogler, R. (2017). The End of American Labor Unions: The Right-to-Work Movement and the Erosion of Collective Bargaining. Praeger.
  • Taft-Hartley Act, 29 U.S.C. § 141 et seq. (1947).




Safety refers to the state of being protected from harm, danger, or risk. It encompasses both physical and psychological well-being, where individuals feel secure, free from threat, and able to pursue their lives without fear of harm.

In the context of Black communities in the US, safety takes on added dimensions due to the historical and contemporary experiences of systemic racism, discrimination, and violence. Black communities have disproportionately faced various forms of harm, including police brutality, racial profiling, structural inequalities, and socio-economic disparities. Consequently, safety for black communities extends beyond individual well-being and includes addressing systemic injustices and promoting social justice.

The origins of the modern-day police system in the U.S. can be traced back to the "Slave Patrol." Instituted in the early 1700s, these patrols were designed to prevent slave uprisings, capture and return runaway slaves, and maintain strict control over the slave population. Notably, they had the authority to forcibly enter homes on mere suspicion of harboring runaway slaves. This system, built on racial control, persisted until the Civil War's conclusion and the 13th Amendment's passage. Following emancipation, the slave patrol system gave way to various other forms of racially biased law enforcement, such as the Black Codes and, later, Jim Crow laws. These racial disparities remain entrenched within the contemporary criminal justice system, with significant impacts on minority communities.


Safety Nets


From a financial perspective, 'safety nets' are mechanisms put in place to protect individuals, families, and communities from economic shocks and financial hardship. These can include government programs like unemployment insurance, welfare benefits, or social security, which are designed to provide a minimum level of income or support to those in need.

Safety nets can also refer to financial protections like insurance policies, savings accounts, or other financial assets that individuals or families can draw on in times of need. In a broader sense, safety nets can include community-based or informal networks of support, like help from family or friends.

In all these forms, the purpose of financial safety nets is to reduce economic risks and vulnerabilities and to prevent poverty or financial catastrophe in the event of job loss, illness, disability, or other adverse life events.

School Discipline Practices


School discipline practices refer to the policies, strategies, and actions used by schools to manage student behavior, promote a safe and orderly learning environment, and encourage positive behavior. These practices may include rewards and consequences, conflict resolution strategies, and a range of interventions to address behavioral issues. The goal is to foster a positive school climate that supports learning for all students.

There has been a significant shift in school discipline practices in recent years. Traditionally, discipline in schools often relied on punitive measures such as suspension, expulsion, or detention. However, research has shown that these methods can have negative effects, including lower academic achievement, higher dropout rates, and increased likelihood of involvement with the criminal justice system.

Increasingly, schools are moving towards more positive discipline strategies, such as restorative justice practices, social and emotional learning, and positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS). These approaches aim to help students learn from their mistakes, develop empathy, improve their social skills, and make positive changes in their behavior.


School Funding


School funding refers to the financing that is allocated for the operation, maintenance, and improvement of schools. It is critical for providing quality education, including hiring and retaining competent teachers, providing necessary classroom resources, maintaining facilities, and supporting extracurricular activities. The amount and distribution of school funding can have a significant impact on educational outcomes and equity.

The main sources of school funding in the United States typically include:

  1. Local funding, primarily from property taxes, which can vary significantly between wealthier and poorer neighborhoods.
  2. State funding, derived from income taxes, sales taxes, and other revenues, usually allocated according to formulas that consider factors such as the number of students, the local district's ability to generate revenue, and sometimes, the specific needs of certain student populations (e.g., low-income students, English learners).
  3. Federal funding, which typically accounts for a smaller portion of overall school funding, is often targeted toward specific populations such as students from low-income families, students with disabilities, and English learners.

Equity in school funding remains a major issue as schools in wealthier areas tend to have more local resources, leading to disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)


A U.S. federal agency established in 1934 responsible for regulating the securities industry, including stocks and bonds, and ensuring fair and transparent financial markets. The SEC's primary mission is to protect investors, maintain orderly market functions, and facilitate capital formation. It oversees corporate reporting by publicly-held companies, supervises key participants in the securities world, and enforces federal securities laws, taking action against companies and individuals who violate these laws.



Segregation is a practice or policy that involves the separation of a certain group or groups of people from the rest of society. This separation can be based on various attributes, such as race, gender, socioeconomic status, or religion, and it can occur in various contexts like housing, education, employment, and others.

Historically, segregation in the United States was consistently associated with unequal access to resources, opportunities, and social services. These historic inequities persist in many communities today because the damage done in the past has not been fully accounted for or repaired. 


Social Capital


Social capital refers to the connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them. It's the collective value of all social networks (who people know) and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other ("norms of reciprocity"). In other words, social capital is the value that we get from our relationships with each other.

It encompasses resources embedded in a social structure that can be accessed or mobilized in purposive actions. It includes various aspects such as information potential (access to data and knowledge), influence (exertion of control), social credentials (certifications of a person's social character), and reinforcement of identity and recognition.

Social Construct


A social construct, in the context of social sciences and philosophy, refers to a concept or perception of something that is 'constructed' within a society or by individuals in a society. It's a theoretical concept used to understand how societies ascribe meaning to behaviors, interactions, events, and people.

Social constructs are often seen as an agreed-upon collective viewpoint of society, and they are created and maintained by people. They are not inherent natural or objective realities but are perceived as real because of society's consensus. These constructs can vary across cultures and societies, and can change over time.

For example, gender is considered a social construct because society has created specific roles and expectations for men and women, and these roles can vary widely in different cultures or historical periods.

Learn More:

  • California Newsreel (2003). Race the Power of an Illusion. Episode 2, The Story We Tell.

Social Justice


Social justice refers to the fair and equitable distribution of resources, opportunities, and privileges within a society. It is based on the principles of equality, human rights, and the pursuit of a just and inclusive society. Social justice aims to address systemic inequalities, discrimination, and oppression to ensure that all individuals have access to basic human needs, rights, and opportunities regardless of their social, economic, or cultural background.

Statistical Significance


Statistical significance is term used in research to indicate that the results are not likely due to random chance. When a finding is statistically significant, it suggests that there's a high likelihood that the result is true and not just a fluke or coincidence. It's a process researchers use to determine if what they found is ‘real’ or if it might have just happened by accident.

Structural, Systemic, and Institutional Violence


Structural Violence

This refers to harm caused by systemic social structures, such as economic and political systems, that lead to social inequalities like poverty, lack of access to healthcare, and other forms of discrimination. It's often invisible because it's not tied to specific individuals or groups but is embedded in the structures that govern society.

Systemic Violence

This refers to violence that is ingrained and persistent within systems and structures in society. It's not an act of one individual against another, but rather, it's a series of practices and policies in a social or political system that cause physical, psychological, or economic harm to a specific group. Systemic violence often refers to the biases that are deeply embedded in such systems that disproportionately affect marginalized groups.

Institutional Violence

This refers to harmful practices that are systematic and routine within institutions, such as discrimination in workplaces, schools, prisons, and other organizations. It's violence that is seemingly normalized as it's a part of the established structure and protocol within the institution.

Sustainability (financial)


Financial sustainability refers to the ability of an individual, organization, or system to maintain and manage its financial resources over the long term. For individuals, it means having income that exceeds expenses, enabling savings or investments for the future. For organizations or systems, it involves having sound financial management practices, diverse and reliable sources of revenue, and the capacity to withstand economic shocks or downturns.

Learn more:

Systems of Marginalization and Oppression


Systems of marginalization and oppression refer to structural and societal mechanisms that exclude, disadvantage, or harm certain groups based on their perceived social differences such as race, gender, socio-economic status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and religion, among others. These systems are deeply embedded within societal institutions, including legal systems, education, healthcare, and economic structures, and are often perpetuated through cultural norms and biases.

Marginalization refers to the process by which certain groups are pushed to the edges of society, making them lesser in status and limiting their access to resources, opportunities, and decision-making processes.

Oppression, on the other hand, is the unjust exercise of authority or power over a group, often involving the systematic denial of basic human rights and freedoms. Oppression is often enacted by dominant groups to maintain and control power.



Teacher Effectiveness

Teacher effectiveness refers to the ability of a teacher to promote positive educational outcomes among their students. There are multiple ways to measure teacher effectiveness, including student achievement growth, observation-based assessments of teacher practice, and surveys of students' experiences in the classroom.

Key aspects of teacher effectiveness often include:

  • Strong content knowledge and teaching skills.
  • Ability to establish a productive classroom environment.
  • Use of effective instructional strategies that engage students and support their learning.
  • Ability to assess student understanding and adapt instruction accordingly.
  • Ability to foster positive relationships with students, parents, and colleagues.
  • Commitment to continuous professional growth and development.
  • Establish a respectful environment for a diverse group of students.
  • Provide an environment where each child has a positive , nurturing, relationship with caring adults.
  • Teachers embrace diversity in the school community and the world.
  • Teachers treat students as individuals.
  • Teachers adapt their teaching for the benefit of students with special needs.
  • Teachers work collaboratively with families and significant adults in the lives of their students.

Learn More:

Teacher Experience


Teacher experience generally refers to the number of years a teacher has been teaching or working in education. It is often used as a measure of a teacher's professional maturity and competence. Many studies have shown that teacher experience can significantly impact student achievement, especially in the first few years of teaching as teachers learn to manage their classrooms effectively and develop their teaching style.

A more nuanced understanding of teacher experience might also include aspects like:

  • Experience teaching a specific grade level or subject: A teacher may be more effective when teaching a grade level or subject that they have significant experience with.
  • Experience with a particular student population: A teacher may have developed specific skills or strategies for working with students who have learning disabilities, English language learners, or students in high-poverty schools.
  • Professional development experiences: This might include a teacher's experiences with continued education, such as workshops, courses, or conferences, which can help teachers stay up-to-date with best practices in education.

While teacher experience is associated with effectiveness, it's also important to note that it's not the only factor. Other factors, such as teacher's subject matter knowledge, instructional skills, and classroom management skills, are also critical to student success.

Learn more:



Transportation, specifically in the context of transportation modes and systems that support local communities, refers to the movement of people and goods within and between geographic areas. It encompasses various modes of transportation, including public transit, walking, cycling, and private vehicles, as well as the infrastructure, services, and policies that enable transportation.

The relationship between transportation and Black communities in the United States is significant, as transportation systems can both contribute to and perpetuate existing racial inequities. Black communities often face transportation disparities, including limited access to reliable and affordable transportation options, inadequate infrastructure, and unequal distribution of resources.

Historical factors such as racial segregation, discriminatory practices, and disinvestment in Black communities have shaped transportation systems, resulting in limited public transit options and inadequate connectivity. These disparities can lead to reduced access to employment opportunities, education, healthcare, and essential services for Black individuals and communities.

Addressing transportation disparities requires a comprehensive approach that includes equitable transportation planning, improved public transit options, increased investments in infrastructure, and community engagement in decision-making processes. By prioritizing the needs of Black communities in transportation planning and policy, it is possible to enhance mobility, reduce transportation barriers, and promote social and economic opportunities.


  • Holt, G. E. (2017). The Transportation Experience of African Americans in the Twentieth Century. In S. T. Yeh (Ed.), Handbook of Transport and Urban Planning in the Developed World (pp. 367-384). Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Young, L., Irvin, E., & Shankar, P. (n.d.). Equity and Smart Mobility. Institute for Sustainable Communities. Retrieved from



Trauma, in general terms, refers to the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual's ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel the full range of emotions and experiences. Trauma can have profound psychological and physiological effects, often leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health conditions.

In the context of Black Americans, trauma can be viewed through both a historical and a contemporary lens. 

Historical trauma refers to the cumulative emotional and psychological wounding over the lifespan and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma experiences. For Black Americans, this includes the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, Jim Crow laws, and other systemic racist policies and practices throughout history. The impacts of this historical trauma can be seen in many aspects of life, including disparities in health, education, housing, and wealth.

Contemporary trauma among Black Americans encompasses ongoing personal, institutional, and systemic racism. This includes experiences of microaggressions, police brutality, racial profiling, and other forms of discrimination and violence. This can also include the vicarious trauma from witnessing racial violence, even through media reports. 

Additionally, the concept of intergenerational trauma is relevant. Intergenerational trauma refers to trauma that isn't just experienced by one person but is transferred from the first generation of trauma survivors to the second and further generations of offspring. This trauma can influence mental and physical health, cultural identity, and socio-economic status.

Therefore, in relation to Black Americans, trauma is not just an individual phenomenon but a collective one, deeply rooted in a historical context and perpetuated by ongoing systemic racism and discrimination. It's also essential to note that while trauma has significantly impacted the Black American community, it does not define it. There are also narratives of resilience, strength, and healing.

To gain a fuller understanding of the traumatic experiences of Black Americans, which are diverse and complex, it is beneficial to explore beyond scholarly articles and statistics. Emotional, creative, and spiritual modalities, like poetry, can offer valuable insights into the lived experiences and depths of trauma within the Black community. Poetry, in particular, taps into the raw emotions and profound reflections of individuals, making it a potent medium for understanding. For those looking to delve into this perspective, the poetry collection, "Unhealed Trauma Queen: Personal poems for the hurt, broken, and unhealed queens" by Sidney Michelle Coleman provides an evocative lens into the experience of trauma from a Black woman poet.

The traumatic experiences of Black Americans are diverse and complex, and these sources provide a framework to understand those experiences— they are exemplary and by no means exhaustive.


  • DeGruy, J. (2017). Post traumatic slave syndrome: America's legacy of enduring injury and healing. Joy DeGruy Publications Inc.
  • Bryant-Davis, T., & Ocampo, C. (2006). Racist Incident-Based Trauma. The Counseling Psychologist, 33(4), 479–500.
  • Sotero, M. (2006). A Conceptual Model of Historical Trauma: Implications for Public Health Practice and Research. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, 1(1), 93-108.
  • Danieli, Y. (Ed.). (1998). International Handbook of Multigenerational Legacies of Trauma. Plenum Press.
  • Roberts, A. L., Gilman, S. E., Breslau, J., Breslau, N., & Koenen, K. C. (2011). Race/ethnic differences in exposure to traumatic events, development of post-traumatic stress disorder, and treatment-seeking for post-traumatic stress disorder in the United States. Psychological Medicine, 41(1), 71–83.
  • Williams, M. T., Metzger, I. W., Leins, C., & DeLapp, C. (2018). Assessing racial trauma within a DSM–5 framework: The UConn Racial/Ethnic Stress & Trauma Survey. Practice Innovations, 3(4), 242–260.




Wealth, from a personal or household perspective, refers to the total value of assets owned by an individual or family, minus any debts or liabilities. It encompasses various forms of financial resources and tangible assets, including cash, savings, investments, real estate, vehicles, and valuable possessions. Wealth represents accumulated resources that can provide financial security, opportunities, and a foundation for future economic well-being. It is a measure of an individual's or household's financial stability and capacity to meet present and future needs.

Learn more:

Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, North Carolina


Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, North Carolina: Winston-Salem, located within Forsyth County in North Carolina, is a vibrant region known for its rich history. Originally established as two separate towns in the mid-18th century, Salem (a Moravian religious settlement) and Winston (an industrial city), the two towns consolidated in 1913 to become Winston-Salem.

Historically, Winston-Salem was a powerhouse of the tobacco and textile industries with the presence of Reynolds Tobacco Company and Hanes Brands Inc., respectively. It was also known for banking with the Wachovia Bank and Trust Company. Today, the city is a hub for innovation, health care, and arts, often described as the 'City of Arts and Innovation'.

In the present day, the economy of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County is driven by industries such as healthcare, education, and finance, with growing contributions from the technology sector. Prominent employers include Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist (formerly Wake Forest Baptist Health), Novant Health, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, Truist, Wells Fargo, Reynolds American, Hanesbrands, the City of Winston-Salem, Wake Forest University, Forsyth County, and AT&T.

The population of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County is diverse, with a mix of racial and ethnic groups. As per the U.S. Census Bureau data, as of July 1, 2022, the county had a population of over 389,157 people.

Despite its growth and vibrancy, the community faces significant challenges, with very low rates of economic mobility and wealth disparities, particularly along racial and socio-economic lines. These complex, systemic issues continue to be the focus of many people and local initiatives that aim to foster community engagement and improve life for all residents.


Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WS/FCS)


Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WS/FCS) is a public school district located in Forsyth County, North Carolina. WS/FCS is one of the largest school systems in North Carolina and serves the city of Winston-Salem and the surrounding Forsyth County area.

The district comprises a number of different types of schools, including elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and specialized schools. It offers a variety of academic and extracurricular programs to meet the diverse needs and interests of its student population.

WS/FCS's mission is to provide a high-quality and equitable education that prepares each student to be a responsible citizen and a lifelong learner. It is committed to creating a safe, inclusive, and engaging learning environment where all students can thrive.

The district's student population is diverse, reflecting the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of the wider community. As with many urban districts in the U.S., WS/FCS faces challenges related to educational equity, including achievement gaps among different student groups, school funding disparities, and the need for culturally responsive education.

The district has taken steps to address these challenges, through initiatives aimed at promoting equity, cultural awareness, and inclusivity in its schools. However, the impact of these efforts, and the extent to which they have been successful in addressing the district's challenges, is a subject of ongoing discussion and research.


  • Davis, L., & Rice, W. (1999). African Americans in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County: A pictorial history. Walsworth Publishing. 
  • Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. (n.d.). Official Website. Retrieved from
  • North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (n.d.) Official Website. Retrieved from

Writing Team

Following the preliminary research activities for this project, a smaller Writing Team, composed of CBR participants, worked intensively with staff over the course of several months to discuss and prepare the final content of the report. Learn more about the methodology and limitations of this report. 

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