Black Passports: Travel Memoirs as a Tool for Youth Empowerment

Music: Les Nubians and Dizzy Gillespie.

This 6-minute video outlines contents of the book Black Passports and weaves together visuals of African American world travelers with locations they visited. (Formats: YouTube, Vimeo, & Download)


Black Passports is a resource guide that uses African American memoir to address a variety of issues related to mentoring and curriculum development. In this resource guide for fostering youth empowerment, Stephanie Y. Evans offers creative commentary on two hundred autobiographies that contain African American travel memoirs of places around the world. The narratives are by such well-known figures as Frederick Douglass; W. E. B. Du Bois; Billie Holiday; Maya Angelou; Malcolm X; James Baldwin; Muhammad Ali; Richard Pryor; Angela Davis; Condoleezza Rice; and President Barack Obama; as well as by many lesser-known travelers.

Book and video include information about state of Georgia high school curriculum standards and HB 2281, the anti-Ethnic Studies bill in Arizona. The book  serves as a tool for “literary mentoring;” where students of all ages can gain knowledge and wisdom from texts in the same way achieved by one-on-one mentoring; and it also provides ideas for incorporating these memoirs into lessons on history; geography; vocabulary; and writing. Focusing on four main mentoring themes—life; school; work; and cultural exchange—Evans encourages readers to comb the texts for models of how to manage attitudes; behaviors; and choices in order to be successful in transnational settings.

“This book provides a new and refreshing way to think about Black youth and issues of empowerment. It will be a useful tool for teachers; parents; scholars; and community organizers; leaders; and activists.”      — Valerie Grim; Indiana University Bloomington


Table of Contents

Prologue: “Wisdom Is the Best of All Treasures”: Adolescent Development and the ABCs of Power
1. Introduction: Literary Mentoring
2. Life
3. School
4. Work
5. Exchange
6. Conclusion: Writing Your Own Freedom Papers
Epilogue: Regeneration; A Song for Strong Bones
Appendix A: Alphabetical List
Appendix B: Passport Geography
Appendix C: Passport Vocabulary
Appendix D: Nenoku Poetry

For more book details, visit