Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management


School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Brandon Lundy

Second Advisor

Griselda Thomas

Third Advisor

Seneca Vaught

Fourth Advisor

Jessie Benjamin


Descendants of Africans who were enslaved in the Americas are entangled in a complex web of discriminatory inter-generational realities. The effects of persistent race-based violence demanded that descendants cultivate ways to survive and thrive as a unique community. The main assumption of this study is that descendants of enslaved Africans have employed sophisticated “self-repair” strategies from a legacy of enslavement and ongoing discrimination. These self-repair strategies are used to promote psychological, social, political, and economic well-being. Content analysis, thematic technique was conducted using multi-disciplinary lenses of International Conflict Management to understand repair as inductively found in a Seven Rs model of healing. The study sought to understand how descendants of enslaved Africans in the Americas “self-repair” from slavery and its legacies of discrimination. Data were collected through interviews, focus groups, documents, events, popular culture and participant observation of African descendants of three distinct communities, Gullah Geechee (US), Merikin (T&T) and Afro-Venezuelans. Repair of the Seven Rs was used for analysis of the primary data collected in this study. The study found that self-determination of African descendants enabled the practice of sophisticated “self-repair” strategies that allowed them to survive and thrive in the face of persistent violence. The self-repair methods were found to include the following: family in the common experience of enslavement, remembrance, community empowerment education, African tangible and intangible heritage (spirituality, music, song, dance, arts, crafts, traditional medicine, agricultural practices, written records), identity in tracing genealogy through names and biology, benevolent service to community, transnational solidarity and collaborations, all work in tangent with memorials, commemorations, and strong political actions as strategies of repair used by African descendants of the Americas, after violence and trauma. The new knowledge can be contextually or generally applied.

Available for download on Thursday, February 25, 2027