#VanningWhileBlack in the Deep South?

I haven’t been on the blog tip in a few weeks because I’ve been busy. What I’ve been working on is on my research, getting my methodological shit in order since I’m significantly behind and should have had all this done months ago. Over the past while I’ve really been on the fence about school,  wondering if I even wanted to continue. Do I really need a PhD? Even though I’m 3/4 of the way done with it — this is why I slacked. I’ve been so tapped-out because of the physical, mental, and emotional toll that comes with being a Black woman pursuing an advanced degree, that I wasn’t so sure I wanted to keep going. Since just this past September I’ve been at the level of academia that I just don’t have to be on campus, really, if I don’t wanna be, and just use the time to work on my research — which is about reproduction — among Black people. Another reason that I wasn’t so sure is that my work still is not funded. I have no research money and am working on getting that situated in order to be able to stay in the south for approximately 18 months. I don’t own a car, and I didn’t plan on getting one. My plans for the past few months have been to utilize all facets of my financial means to purchase a cargo van and live in it full-time while traveling North and South America and Canada.

But I’ve decided to continue with my academic work. Even though I really questioned it, it all comes down to the fact that I am so in love with my research and know the impact it will make in the past, current, and future lives of Black people, is why I keep going. So, my plans for spontaneous travel across the North American continent appear as if they’re on hold — for now — that is — if and only if I can get my research funded!

And should that happen, I will be in the deep south. And because of my methodology, it requires me to move around the state, exploring various aspects of it for about six months, before I settle down and concentrate on one community. I figured instead of staying in motel/hotels and house-hopping, I might do the van thing. But then I started to think that I’m not so sure about all that. The entire Southern region has been notorious for its history or racism and gender discrimination, lynchings, violence against Black people, white supremacist groups, and the multitude of ways they worked to make sure the system was in-tact. I will also add that these same Black people who have been faced with this history didn’t just lay down and die — they fought back, and I am in awe at this resistance. But the fact is that it happened, and the place is still considered dangerous.

Recently, I was in a conversation with a 60-something-year-old Black male, who said he would never sleep out side in the South, or anywhere — because of anti-Blackness and the potential outcome of these sentiments. And there is no denying that this level of stress from potentially being profiled, discriminated against, or worse, is at the forefront of my mind.

I spend nearly every moment thinking about traveling around the Southern state in a van, researching and writing as I go, which is so idealistic for me. But it has me going back and forth about safety, being a Black woman on the road in order to gather information on a specific location’s history. I’m looking to be in the South for about 1.5 years total, and can’t see myself delaying my plans for van life because I’m so excited about it. I’m also excited about my research, too. 

Ways to support my journey

Buy me a gallon of gas: http://bit.ly/2DToOlD
Become a Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ratedrosa
Purchase Rated Rosa merch: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RatedRosa
Visit my Amazon Wish List: http://a.co/jexbyXb

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