Interview, Kijana Crawford
Kijana Crawford was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. She graduated from a newly integrated high school and went on to attend Tougaloo College in Mississippi, where she became engaged in civil rights activism. Crawford earned her Master of Social Work from Atlanta University and later moved to Rochester to teach sociology and social work at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). In Rochester, she also became involved in the Big Sister program, the United Church Ministry, the Center for Youth Services, the Black Awareness Coordinating Committee, and the African Women’s Conference.
In this interview, Crawford recalls attending the Jackson State Riot in 1970 and her subsequent civil rights work with the Freedom Riders. She shares that she was one of the first black students to integrate her high school, noting that this was a largely negative experience for her. Crawford explains that the racism she encountered while teaching at RIT prompted her to create a class there called “Social Work from a Pan-African Perspective.”