thank all the HBCUs for opening their doors. That was something
they did not have to do. They could’ve said, ‘We’re
too far along’ and could’ve been, ‘Sorry for
you.’ The small to big, every single one of them opened their doors to somebody to
let them in. Even the white universities, they opened their doors to let everybody in. So, I thank every single
university that let people in.”
-Displaced student at Xavier University
While serving as Research Assistant Professor at Morehouse College, Dr. Mike Weaver had four displaced New Orleans university students to enroll in his Introduction to Epidemiology course. Watching the studentsí challenges during their displacement provided the inspiration for this book.
The Roots Cried Out: Hurricane Katrina One Year Later, Real Life
Lessons from Young Adults in New Orleans and South Africa (ISBN-10:
0-9788587-0-0, ISBN-13: 978-0-9788587-0-4, 191pp., 8 ½
x 11 pbk) is a text written for educators, academicians,
students and the general public. Written in the style of Studs Terkel's classic text on American labor, "Working: What People Do All Day Long and How They Feel About What They Do", The Roots Cried Out is based
upon the perspectives of young people enrolled at New Orleans
universities, e.g. Dillard University, Xavier University and Southern
University at New Orleans. All students participating in the focus
groups were displaced to various colleges and universities across
the nation. The Roots Cried Out details their experiences while
displaced at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
and other institutions of higher learning. Nineteen focus groups
were conducted with 83 students soon after their return to New
These students weighed in on topics such
as FEMA, American Red Cross, the Tom Joyner Scholarship, WalMart, the government’s
response, Black Greeks, spirituality, episodic depression, health
challenges, and their interactions with students, faculty and
administration at schools like Harvard, Howard, Columbia, Brown,
FAMU, Morehouse, Spelman, Clark Atlanta University, Southern University,
Wilberforce, Tennessee State, Fisk, Pine Bluff, Tuskegee, Alabama
A&M, Grambling, Texas Southern, Paul Quinn, and many others.
This is a must read for anyone involved in higher education (administrator,
faculty or student), or planning for an academic career.
In addition, five focus groups were conducted
on location at three South African universities. 25 students shared
their perspectives on Hurricane Katrina’s portrayal in the
international media. The students dealt with issues such as poverty
and race in America, President George Bush and the United States
government, September 11th, HIV/AIDS, the London terrorists attack,
the tsunami, Oprah, hip-hop, and other topics. The young adults
spoke candidly about what was portrayed in the media. Their insight
offers a non-American viewpoint of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.
Part II of The Roots Cried Out is dedicated
to photojournalism. Images from New Orleans and South Africa tell
vivid stories. For example, the levees at Gentilly and the Lower
Ninth Ward are shown in month-by-month progressions. The devastation
of New Orleans is presented, as well as the beautiful landscape
of South Africa. A comparison of cultures can be seen throughout
Lastly, licensed clinical-community psychologist
Dr. Gary Wright provides an Afterword. His words give a socio-cultural
and political examination of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.
And as a psychologist, he discusses depression, anxiety and post-traumatic
stress disorder. Dr. Wright’s Afterword brings splendid
psychoanalytic closure to the book.
So, as a supplement for many academic disciplines
(Public Health, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, History,
Political Science, Religion, etc.) or simply as a general read,
The Roots Cried Out is available to students, educators, academicians
and the everyday public. As of Spring 2007, The Roots Cried Out is required reading at University of North Carolina- Asheville, and selected reading at University of North Texas and University of Seattle. More colleges and universities are reviewing The Roots Cried Out in order to integrate into course readings. For ordering, please email.