Rartajah Davis Valdosta State University
As an African American reared in a small rural town, I grew up with a sense of community and a racial awareness. Families in my neighborhood experienced a sense of belonging through shared daily activities. According to McMillian and Chavis, the four elements of sense of community were evident in my neighborhood (1986). As a child, I noticed physical differences in people throughout my community. In my community, there weren’t just African Americans. Hall (2004) used the example that Caucasian Americans (Whites) might not be fully aware of the consciousness of their identity if they grew up only around their racial group. Biles (1994) stated that by age two, children recognize and explore physical differences. I began to take notice of the world around me.
I grew up in Social Circle, Georgia, a small rural town in Walton County. Social Circle is about 45 miles east of Atlanta. My family was the first to occupy the neighborhood in which I lived. Both of my parents were born and grew up in Social Circle, Georgia. My maternal grandfather (Willie Paul Robinson) and paternal grandmother (Emma Mattie Davis) grew up in Walton County, Georgia. My paternal grandfather (Willie Clarence Davis) grew up in Greene County, Georgia and my maternal grandmother (Mattie Jane Robinson) grew up in Newton County, Georgia. All of my grandparents are deceased, additionally my paternal grandmother died before I was born. My cousin and maternal grandmother’s niece (Amber Jean Barber) traced our ancestry to a tribe in Africa. My two sisters, my brother, and I were members of a nuclear family. My parents are Rogers and Ruth. I have two older siblings, Rhenita and Ranski. I have one younger sister, Rhiquia. My brother Ranski has a daughter named Nakiya and a son named Amar’e. My sister Rhiquia has a daughter named Rhiyona. Dr. Joya Carter Hicks serves a mentor to me. Dr. Carter