Marcia Tate Arunga, Ph.D., is a 2017 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University

Dr. Marcia Tate Arunga at her Dissertation Defense at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee

  • Philomena Essed, Ph.D., Chair
  • Laura Morgan Roberts, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • W. Joye Hardiman, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Filomena Steady, Ph.D., Outside Reader

[photo credit: Karen Winston]

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The purpose of this study is to examine the lived experiences of 18 African American women who went to Kenya, East Africa as part of a Cultural Reconnection delegation. A qualitative narrative inquiry method was used for data collection. This was an optimal approach to honoring the authentic voices of African American women. Eighteen African American women shared their stories, revelations, feelings and thoughts on reconnecting in their ancestral homeland of Africa. The literature discussed includes diasporic returns as a subject of study, barriers to the return including the causes of historic trauma, and how Black women as culture bearers have practiced overcoming these barriers by returning to the ancestral homeland. The data revealed that Cultural Reconnection delegations created an enhanced sense of purpose and a greater understanding of their roots and themselves. Participants further experienced a need to give back, participated in womanism, and gained a greater spiritual connection to their ancestors. Stereotypes and myths were dispelled. Leadership skills were improved. Participants gained a clear vision of the next step in their personal lives, an overall greater understanding of themselves. This dissertation offers significant insights into the nature and benefit of ancestral returns, and the cultural components of leadership and change, especially for diasporas who were involuntarily stolen from their native lands. The electronic version of this dissertation is available in open access at AURA, Antioch University Repository and Archive, , and OhioLINK ETD Center,


Marcia Tate Arunga, Ph.D. [right] enjoying re-connection in Kenya with Leonider Ayeke [Center] and Kisumu Cllr. Prisca Auma Michachi [left].

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Marcia Tate Arunga is the cofounder of African American Kenyan Women's Interconnect (AAKEWO), responsible for planning the travel itinerary from USA, to Kenya, East Africa as an exploration of returning to the ancestral homeland. Marcia teaches courses in Sociology of the Family and Leadership at Seattle Central College. She is the author of The Stolen Ones and How They Were Missed.


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