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Committee Members

Awad Halabi, Ph.D. (Committee Chair); Marlese Durr, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Opolot Okia, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Humanities (MHum)


This study examines the racial, socio-economic, and political factors that shaped The House of Yisrael, a Black Nationalist community in Cincinnati, Ohio. The members of this community structure their lives following the Black Hebrew Israelite ideology sharing the core beliefs that Black people are the "true" descendants of the ancient Israelites of the biblical narrative. Therefore, as Israelites, Black people should follow the Torah as a guideline for daily life. Because they are the "chosen people," God will judge those who have oppressed them. This ideology, which began in the U.S. during the nineteenth century, has recently been growing more momentum since the rise of Black Lives Matter activism and President Donald Trump's election. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Black Hebrew Israelites are listed as one of the violent Black nationalist communities on the rise ("Return of the Violent Black Nationalist"). In exploring this community's practices as forms of interpretivism, self-determination, and cultural nationalism, Critical Race Theory and Conflict Theory will act as the theoretical lens for examining their beliefs in a time of social and racial upheaval.

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