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"I realized the knowledge and information ... and the connectedness that I experienced was not a part of every black person's story."


While working for a nonprofit in Baltimore, MD I developed a Rites of Passage program for middle school children. Although it was never implemented. I refined the concept and brought it home to New York. When I showed a young woman in her mid-thirties with five daughters the program, she asked, "Do you have anything like this for adults?"

It was then the I realized that the knowledge and information that my mother, grandmothers, aunts and uncles passed on to me and the connectedness that I experienced in my southern visits, was not a part of every black person's story. This folklore, history, field of manners—as James Baldwin and August Wilson call it—was not being used to help support our communities.

As a lifelong educator, my first inclination was to create a charter school, but I also wanted to include those community members who were not of the traditional school age, so I decided to create a nonprofit that could serve the entire population.

- Dale Gadsen, Founder of The Womanist Project