What It Is
LTT stands for Laɣim Tehi Tuma, “Thinking Together” in Dagbani, a language of Northern Ghana where the program was founded by a grassroots collaborative. Comprised by local educators, educators from Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, and students and community members of both settings, this collaborative acts as a threshold between communities, organizations, and individuals sharing a vision of education that contributes to global Black liberation. LTT’s mission is to empower people to intervene in false narratives, bring forward missing ones, and co-create knowledge and futures rooted by Black history, reality and freedom. To do this, LTT engages and interplays among many centers of knowledge: family- and lineage-based learning, community-centered education, language learning, and self-education as well as Black study/studies and personally meaningful research. For LTT, to think about education means to think as well about history, culture, race, class, gender, and other dimensions of identity; about language, colonialism, nationality, and post-coloniality; and about discourses of development and indigeneity.
This year, the program’s ninth, LTT will run from early June through July with a hybrid approach (as last year, due to the pandemic). Three students from Bryn Mawr and two from Lincoln University will participate remotely, in collaboration with six students from the University for Development Studies (UDS) who will participate on site in Dalun, Ghana. The leadership team includes on-site and remote members, as well, and is made up of BiCo Education faculty Alice Lesnick and Chanelle Wilson, Local Program Coordinator Alhassan Sumaila, and Fellow and Language Learning Coordinators Sabea Evans and Issa Rajaa-u, (former LTT Fellows from Haverford and UDS).
The students will intern with local mentors in one of LTT’s partner organizations: Titagya Schools, an early education NGO; Simli Radio, the region’s community radio station; and the Dalun ICT Centre, a village-based computer training center the Dalun Cultural Group. All Fellows will also train with mentors from the Dalun Cultural Group, a collective that teaches and performs local traditional dance and drumming techniques.
The internships make up one plank in the platform LTT creates to support students in thinking together about the meaning and purpose of education centered by Black diasporic liberation and study. The other planks in the platform include Dagbani language and other cultural learning, research and reflective discussions, personal inquiry projects, student leadership committee work, and regional/cultural immersion.
This summer, LTT is celebrating important news!
First, the program is now a registered organization in Ghana. This means that leadership, awareness, and support of LTT are increasingly centered in the local context. It opens possibilities for new action paths and approaches to sustaining them.
Second, LTT has a new institutional partner: Lincoln University, in Oxford, Pa., USA. While this summer’s Lincoln “Lions in Ghana” are participating remotely, in subsequent summers two to four Lincoln students will travel to Dalun with their colleagues in the BiCo for the program.
Partnership with Lincoln University creates an important new context for thinking together. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first Prime Minister and President to lead Ghana through independence from Britain, completed his undergraduate degree and one of his master’s degrees at Lincoln. Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States, of which Lincoln was the first, played and continue to play an important part in the development of Pan-Africanist approaches to liberation. And Pan-Africanism has been a significant interest within LTT, whose Fellows have included Bryn Mawr and Haverford students from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe—together with other international Fellows from India, Pakistan, China, and, this summer, Singapore.
This summer, Dr. Gervais Gnaka, a Lincoln professor of history specializing in Pan-Africanism, will work with LTT as Scholar- in-Residence. With Dr. Gnaka’s guidance, students will consider pan-Africanism with respect to their own lives, as well as in connection with their internships and their respective undergraduate institutions—an HBCU, a women’s college, a state university designed to work in partnership with communities, and a Quaker college.
Third, this summer Millicent Auma, a graduating Bryn Mawr senior, will serve as an LTT Fellow through the Commonwealth African Fund of Bryn Mawr College. In this connection, Millicent will join remotely from her home in Kenya. The Commonwealth Africa Fund enables graduating seniors to work in a Commonwealth African country, of which Ghana is one, in a project connected with an African university, as LTT is.
Finally, a course, Inquiries into Black Study, Language Justice, and Education (Education 308), has grown out of the LTT program and now is part of the BiCo Education Program curriculum, cross-listed with Linguistics and Africana Studies. This course, co-designed and co-led by Alice Lesnick and Sabea Evans, explores the implications for education in realizing the significance of global Black liberation and Black Study/ies—particularly in relation to questions of the suppression and sustenance of language diversity. Course learning goals include:
- To explore and convey the meaning of and connections among Black Study/ies, language justice, Pan-Africanism, and education in and outside of schools;
- To develop a personal understanding of what it means to work towards Black liberation and justice as an educator;
- To learn to communicate in Dagbani at a beginner’s level;
- To reflect on the impact of colonial structures and white supremacy to the use and spread of Black languages;
- To develop and curate a set of skills and commitments that facilitate learning for oneself and others;
- To build relationships with LTT internship sites and field projects, mentors, and former fellows and gain experience in internship and/or curriculum development (optional praxis extension).