Black Passports

Travel Memoirs as a Tool for Youth Empowerment

By Stephanie Y. Evans

Subjects: Education, Higher Education, African American Studies, Autobigraphy, Memoir
Paperback : 9781438451541, 310 pages, June 2014
Hardcover : 9781438451534, 310 pages, June 2014

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Prologue: “Wisdom Is the Best of All Treasures”: Adolescent Development and the ABCs of Power
1. Introduction: Literary Mentoring
2. Life
3. School
4. Work
5. Exchange
6. Conclusion: Writing Your Own Freedom Papers
Epilogue: Regeneration, A Song for Strong Bones
Appendix A: Alphabetical List
Appendix B: Passport Geography
Appendix C: Passport Vocabulary
Appendix D: Nenoku Poetry

A resource guide that uses African American memoir to address a variety of issues related to mentoring and curriculum development.


In this resource guide for fostering youth empowerment, Stephanie Y. Evans offers creative commentary on two hundred autobiographies that contain African American travel memoirs of places around the world. The narratives are by such well-known figures as Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Billie Holiday, Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Muhammad Ali, Richard Pryor, Angela Davis, Condoleezza Rice, and President Barack Obama, as well as by many lesser-known travelers. The book addresses a variety of issues related to mentoring and curriculum development. It serves as a tool for "literary mentoring," where students of all ages can gain knowledge and wisdom from texts in the same way achieved by one-on-one mentoring, and it also provides ideas for incorporating these memoirs into lessons on history, geography, vocabulary, and writing. Focusing on four main mentoring themes—life, school, work, and cultural exchange—Evans encourages readers to comb the texts for models of how to manage attitudes, behaviors, and choices in order to be successful in transnational settings.

Stephanie Y. Evans is Associate Professor of African American Studies, Africana Women's Studies, and History at Clark Atlanta University. She is the author of Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850–1954: An Intellectual History and coeditor (with Colette M. Taylor, Michelle R. Dunlap, and DeMond S. Miller) of African Americans and Community Engagement in Higher Education: Community Service, Service-Learning, and Community-Based Research, also published by SUNY Press.


"Making meaningful contributions in the fields of autobiography, youth studies, education, and African American Studies, Stephanie Y. Evans's Black Passports: Travel Memoirs as a Tool for Youth Empowerment is an important book that grapples with ways to inspire today's young people … It offers a captivating collection of autobiographies that will not only allow students to learn about and be inspired by notable people of African descent but also inspire them to manifest their destinies. " — CLA Journal

"This book provides a new and refreshing way to think about Black youth and issues of empowerment. It will be a useful tool for teachers, parents, scholars, and community organizers, leaders, and activists. " — Valerie Grim, Indiana University Bloomington