Centering Black Voices

Posted on November 24, 2020

Jocelyn Smith Lee

It was as if no one had ever asked him to tell his story.

Jocelyn R. Smith Lee, now an assistant professor of human development and family studies at UNC Greensboro, was interviewing a young man in Baltimore. It was part of her work as a doctoral research assistant, examining how young Black men transition from childhood to adulthood in communities where they’re disconnected from traditional school-to-work pathways.

“His interview went four hours, uninterrupted. Nobody got up. Nobody went to the restroom,” she says. “That really spoke to me about his need, and perhaps the larger need I was tapping into, of creating a space for the men to tell their stories.”