The Meaning of Transformational Development for Members of an African American Urban Neighborhood

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Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research

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Health disparities experienced by African Americans compared to their European American counterparts are a major problem in the United States. Contemporary strategies for ameliorating health disparities target the improvement of physical and social environments; however, there is a gap in the literature with respect to African Americans' perspectives of specific community-based change efforts. In this study, we utilized van Manen's (1997) hermeneutic phenomenological design to explore the meaning members of one African American urban neighborhood ascribed to participation in a community change effort known as transformational development. We conducted conversational interviews with 11 participants who met purposive sampling criteria. The results of this study pointed to transformational development as a complex process, which led to authentic community change driven from within. The unique perspectives of participants suggested that community members themselves have a pivotal role to play in addressing health disparities through such transformational change efforts.