Date of Award
Many studies have been done on cultural gardening practices and their resulting forms: a Japanese meditation garden or the Italian use of water elements are two examples. This research revolved around the assumption that African-Americans have distinct ways of expressing their ethnic history, values, and traditions in their built environments. Studies have been conducted in rural areas with African-American subject gardeners; this study investigates the urban and suburban yards and gardens of African-Americans in San Antonio, Texas to leam how cultural heritage affects the design or arrangement of personal space in the city, and to identify physical elements that could be considered distinct to the African-American population. Using a qualitative inquiry process with an open-ended questionnaire and recorded interviews, the research explored nine African-American homeowners’ attitudes and perceptions concerning their cultural heritage and its relation to their living environments. The study examines gardeners of varied socioeconomic backgrounds and neighborhoods. Interview transcripts were analyzed arid compared to one another in search of commonly shared ideals and views. Results discovered that gardeners San Antonio weren’t consciously aware that they were practicing or exhibiting African-American gardening ideals—but it cannot be overlooked that all subject gardeners had remarkable similar plant materials, objects, gardening practices, and views about their properties. Are these commonalties distinctive to the African-American population? The traditions lie in the remembrances of living gardeners—a grandmother’s swept yard or fresh collard greens; the translations are personal and unique to each gardener—daffodils planted in a certain spot every year or walkways lined with river rocks.
Joachim, Sally Akers, "African-American Garden Culture: A Study of Tradition and Translation" (1999). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 8296.