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African American Experiences in the Historic Dunbar Neighborhood in San Marcos, Texas: A Case Study of Counter-Life Stories

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Department of Organization, Workforce, and Leadership Studies, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA
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Department of Geography, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA
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Department of Marketing, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA
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Department of English, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA
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Department of International Studies, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA
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Department of Legal Studies, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(10), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9100177
Received: 20 July 2020 / Revised: 4 September 2020 / Accepted: 10 September 2020 / Published: 3 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Community and Urban Sociology)
The purpose of this participatory research project is to examine the lived experiences (counter-life stories) of current and former Dunbar residents and congregants of Dunbar churches to demonstrate how local stories counter the dominant perspective about the experiences of American Americans in the Dunbar community. Once a thriving community at the center of civil rights activities in Hays County, Texas, the neighborhood has evolved in many ways in the past several decades, contrary to popular belief. This case study employs counter-life story methodology to uncover the hidden truths about Dunbar residents and congregants’ experiences to generate new knowledge about the experiences of African Americans in San Marcos, Texas, and Hays County. Thematic analysis of unfiltered commentary from Dunbar community members revealed three emergent themes: history of racism and slavery, impact of environmental and social racism, and rebuilding and restoring the community. Individual and shared strengths make the community unique and resilient. In-migration of new community members has been outpaced by outmigration. Finally, issues of taxation, representation, and the ongoing deterioration of neighborhood infrastructure are forefront in community members’ minds. In sum, the bedrock of personal and community values and hard work has not changed, but external forces continue to affect the community and compel it to pivot and make plans for change. Personal and communal strengths make the community unique and resilient. Future work will enlist geographic data and methods to help further investigate changes over time. View Full-Text
Keywords: African American experiences; case study; counter-life stories; Hays county; San Marcos; Texas; social history African American experiences; case study; counter-life stories; Hays county; San Marcos; Texas; social history
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ashford-Hanserd, S.; Sarmiento, E.; Myles, C.C.; Rayburn, S.W.; Roundtree, A.K.; Hayton, M.-P.; Ybarra, E.; Benitez, S.; Clifford, T.M.; Pierce, C.; Williams, C.D.; Maleki, S. African American Experiences in the Historic Dunbar Neighborhood in San Marcos, Texas: A Case Study of Counter-Life Stories. Soc. Sci. 2020, 9, 177. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9100177

AMA Style

Ashford-Hanserd S, Sarmiento E, Myles CC, Rayburn SW, Roundtree AK, Hayton M-P, Ybarra E, Benitez S, Clifford TM, Pierce C, Williams CD, Maleki S. African American Experiences in the Historic Dunbar Neighborhood in San Marcos, Texas: A Case Study of Counter-Life Stories. Social Sciences. 2020; 9(10):177. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9100177

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ashford-Hanserd, Shetay, Eric Sarmiento, Colleen C. Myles, Steven W. Rayburn, Aimee K. Roundtree, Mary-Patricia Hayton, Edward Ybarra, Sarai Benitez, Theresa M. Clifford, Christopher Pierce, Chad D. Williams, and Shadi Maleki. 2020. "African American Experiences in the Historic Dunbar Neighborhood in San Marcos, Texas: A Case Study of Counter-Life Stories" Social Sciences 9, no. 10: 177. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9100177

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