Carving My Own Bench by the Road: Examining the Seats of Power for Black Women Educators Through Playwriting
Term of Award
Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)
Document Type and Release Option
Dissertation (open access)
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading
Ming Fang He
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Committee Member 3
Denise Taliaferro Baszile
Committee Member 3 Email
In my dissertation inquiry, I explore the seats of power held by Black women educators in secondary education public schools in Georgia. Theoretically building upon such works as Black feminist thought (Hill Collins, 2000, e.g., hooks, 1981;), womanism (Walker, 2004; Phillips, 2006), critical race theory (Bell, 1992; Delgado, 1989), and engaged pedagogy (hooks, 1994), I create a play explore the oppression experienced by Black women educators who empower themselves for the benefit of students, in some cases abdicate their power, and in a few instances use their power to oppress others (Freire, 1970). The play is crafted based upon government legislations, public meeting notes, newspaper articles, textbooks and other artifacts. I also use reflective notes, daily conversations, journal entries, and other artifacts to fictionalize the counterstories of the Black women educators in public schools. I challenge the metanarrative of “failing public schools” filled with “ineffective” teachers. Playwriting enables me to answer August Wilson’s call for: honesty, purpose, and Black aesthetics (Bryer & Hartig, 2006) in all playwrights.
Nine meanings have emerged from my dissertation inquiry: (1) Black feminist thought empowers Black women educators and is beneficial for all students. (2) “White supremacist capitalist patriarchy” (hooks, 1981) suppresses both students and teachers and provokes Black women educators into acts of liberation and protest. (3) Black mothering in the classroom represents both power and weakness for Black women educators. (4) Black women educators, who “talk back,” (hooks b. , 1989) battle White resistance and White fatigue that leads to Black exhaustion. (5) Self-definition (Hill Collins, 2000) and self-actualization (hooks, 1994) empower Black women educators to transgress all form of oppressions to engage in pedagogical praxis (Freire, 1970). (6) The assault on public schools (Watkins, 2011) deskills (Apple, 1982) teachers and disempowers Black women educators. (7) The school to prison pipeline is changing drastically into the school prison complex, where schools become prisons and students become parolees. (8) Oppositional knowledge (Hill Collins, 2000) and Afrofuturism (Dery, 1993) empower Black women educators to reexamine a complicated past, create a better present and invent brighter future for all. (9) I transgress traditional research inquiries to create a play to tell “hidden” and “silenced narratives” of Black women educators by engaging in personal~passionate~participatory inquiry for social justice (He & Phillion, 2008).
Whipple, D. C. (2018). Carving My Own Bench by the Road: Examining the Seats of Power for Black Women Educators Through Playwriting (Doctoral dissertation). Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA.
Research Data and Supplementary Material