Black Heirlooms: The Unbroken Narratives of African American Families


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships


Social Sciences


This book project is rooted in psychology and explores the relationship between heirlooms and family identity. More specifically, the book provides a multidimensional view of heirlooms, demonstrates how familial identities can be understood using an heirloom, and showcases how heirlooms can be used to interpret Black family identity. The book addresses social science research that ignores Black families’ agency and essentializes their sense of self. It also exposes gaps in the psychological literature concerning heirlooms and memory. “Black Heirlooms” employs autoethnography and narrative analysis. It has implications for deepening the discussion of memorialized artifacts, the collective self, and Black family values.