Date of Award

August 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Urban Studies

First Advisor

Jenna M Loyd

Committee Members

Anne Bonds, Marc Levine, David Pate, Chia Y Vang


critical race theory, oppression, black agency


Theories of Critical Race provide a foundation on which to analyze racism. Critical Race Theory uses elements such as the ordinariness of racism, convergence of interest, revisionist history, and the voice of the oppressed to identify how systems of oppression function to maintain institutional racism.

This dissertation is a community-based participatory research project that studies a government-funded social welfare system serving the African American community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The research analyzes how the structure, policies, and practices of this decentralized system, composed of government institutions and community-based organizations, affects the infrastructure of Milwaukee’s African American community. Specifically, the research analyzes the City of Milwaukee’s Community Development Block Grant’s Neighborhood Planning/Community Organizing/Crime Awareness program. This research identifies how African Americans view government-funded delivery systems, whether blacks view these systems from an African American worldview, and the level of congruency between the views of African American residents, organizational leaders, and City officials as well as program and other public data.