People started calling me Dr. Anika Prather before I finished my defense, but I really had a hard time walking in that title until it was official. After I turned in the draft that caused my adviser to decide to set the date for my defense is when I started using it “a little.” Even then I felt uncomfortable with it. I wanted to make sure I had done EVERY part of the journey. So on Tuesday, April 4, and with several of my high school students watching (I took some with me who wanted to go), and wearing my Adinkra symbol dress in honor of the ancestors who bled and died so I could be here, I defended my dissertation. It went well and I felt good. My husband says I seemed so comfortable. I think I was so excited to finally tell the whole story of why I love the Great Books and why I feel they are relevant to the African American people. To everyone’s surprise, the defense was not just about these books that a group of white men deemed as the “fount of all knowledge” but I reveal how the reading of these books have assisted in the liberation of the African American people. The ancestors read them to gain the literacy needed to fight for our freedom! I also make the case for adding to this list so that all races, cultures and backgrounds can contribute to the Great Conversation. So it is official. I am Dr. Anika T. Prather or you can call me Dr. NIKA!
Now it is time for the next part of the journey and I look forward to inviting others to join me in the continued reading and discussion of these texts and the others that I hope to add to the list! Won’t you join me?