Dr. Elaine Richardson’s story is about being desperate for a new life, and going from the streets to college and becoming interested in language, literacy and identity studies and earning a Ph.D.
“When I first settled on the title Po Ho on Dope to Ph.D., some acquaintances tried to steer me against it. One of them told me that I should change it because it would cheapen my story, that she would not recommend a book with that title to her daughter because the point is to discourage that type of behavior. Well, certainly the goal of the book is not to encourage drug addiction and an abusive unhealthy lifestyle. For me, Po Ho on Dope to Ph.D. helps to target my primary audience – anyone who has lost hope.”
PHD to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My Life offers a glimpse into the 1960’s to 1980’s ghettoes of Cleveland, Ohio. In a raw narrative, Dr. E shares younger Elaine’s experiences of dreams deferred, rape, sex-trafficking/prostitution, drug addiction, unwanted single parenthood, and hopelessness. In a desperate attempt to escape certain death and change her life, supported by her mother and other mentors she meets along the way, she enters the university and eventually learns that she must value herself and her cultural heritage to become educated.
Themes of adolescent life are presented from the perspective of a young naïve Black girl seeking acceptance: delinquency, desire for success, dysfunctional and violent male-female relationships, sexuality, and substance abuse, urban culture and street life, sexual exploitation, addiction, poverty, race, educational issues experienced by first generation college students. This book is ultimately about human potential, learning, and learning to love oneself, despite being born into a world with mirrors that reflect one’s image back negatively.
Dr. Elaine Richardson, Ph.D., also known as Dr. E., is Professor of Literacy Studies in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University. She focuses on the literacy education of African American and African diasporic people, and specializes in critical language and literacy education for social equality. Dr. Richardson belongs to a global network of Hiphop activist educators for social transformation. She uses her story of recovery from human trafficking and drugs to becoming an award winning Ph.D., performer and recording artist to motivate others.
Dr. Richardson belongs to a network of Hiphop educators and activists, a recording artist, and performer using her voice on behalf of those who may be down, but not out! She has won awards from the National Council of Negro Women, City of Columbus, and Cleveland State University, and other organizations.