Term of Award

Fall 2005

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Delores D. Liston

Committee Member 1

Saundra M. Nettles

Committee Member 2

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 3

Lori E. Amy

Abstract

This inquiry explored the triumphs and trials of five African American women with doctoral degrees in the field of Education. The project is a storytelling and questioning inquiry that is woven around themes of race, gender, spirituality, and family channels through which academia and the world were explored. Although the study focused on the experiences of five African American women, their stories provided the space to identify events, experiences, people, and circumstances that helped to empower them. Realizing everyone has unique perspectives to contribute, these stories offer support for others faced with obstacles to understand that overt and covert adversities will appear; nevertheless, they can be overcome. As life learners and educators of others, we ought to remain cognizant of the needs of students. This exploration provides positive support to counteract the negative media stereotypes and images that bombard our everyday lives. Despite double marginalization because of gender and race, these women that participated in the study excelled and became successful. With their diverse experiences, these women developed strategies to survive, overcome, and achieve. The findings from this study suggest that the experiences of the African American women were connected with and influenced by their relationships with family and others in a mentorship role. I propose that higher education holds a transforming power for African American women as well as others. These stories and strategies should be shared with others as they were shared with the researcher to provide positive encouragement and support as they begin their academic journeys.

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