Term of Award

Summer 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

Sabrina Ross

Committee Member 2

John Weaver

Committee Member 3

Sonia Janis

Committee Member 3 Email



This is an inquiry into the life of a former slave and the lives of African American female educators who work in public elementary, middle, and high schools in Georgia. Drawing upon Critical Race Theory (Bell, 1993; Delgado, 2013; Delgado & Stefancic, 2013; Ladson-Billings, 2013; Solorzano & Yosso, 2002; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995; Crenshaw, 1995; Wing, 2003) as the theoretical framework, I explore obstacles that African American females have encountered and the methods they employ to resist hegemony.

Methodologically, I utilize slave narrative (Gates, 2002; Hurmence, 2009; Northup, 2012; Yetman, 2000; Yetman, 2002; Mellon, 1988; McLaurin, 1991; Douglass & Davis, 2010) and rememory (Morrison, 2004; Wallace, 2015; Rhodes, 1990; Rushdy, 1990) to depict the lives of five African American women. The use of slave narrative as a methodology allows these various voices to be heard. Nonetheless, there are some aspects of the narrative that have been fictionalized in order to protect the research participants’ identities. Places, characters, and settings have been reconfigured in order to ensure the protection and safety of participants.

Seven themes emerged from this inquiry. Public schools are sites of systemic oppression that perpetuate hegemony and suppress the professional knowledge of African American female teachers. Common tools of oppression are public humiliation, acts of terror, reassignment, scare tactics, shame, and scapegoating. Counterstory telling provides African American females the opportunity to combat the master narrative and identify the sources of disproportionality, disparity, and discrimination within schools and society at large. There are methods to resist oppression: (a) self-awareness, (b) self-confidence, (c) creative insubordination, (d) positive working relationships/rapport, (e) confrontation, and (h) education. It is necessary for educators to be critically conscious and make a concerted effort to have concern and care for students, to be willing to engage in culturally responsive pedagogy to positively educate and challenge all students, and to create awareness of hegemony through dialogue and action in order to help all students reach their highest potential and become critical changing agents that positively affect the world. Fictionalizing characters, events, and settings helps protect my research participants since research is not neutral but political. Spiritual songs play an indelible role in sustaining, supporting, and strengthening African Americans who undergo systemic and systematic oppression.

Research Data and Supplementary Material