Term of Award

Fall 2007

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

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

William Ayers

Committee Member 2

Saundra Nettles

Committee Member 3

John Weaver

Committee Member 3 Email



Using Critical Race Theory, Critical Literacy, Black Feminist Thought as a theoretical framework and Oral History as research methodology, the lives of four young African American women are explored as they leave their culturally insular surroundings, Jump Rope Communities, to seek access to the codes of power and registers of language in all-White, all-girl, elite private schools during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In capturing the memories, perceptions, and lived experiences of these women over thirty years later, the journey into a world of divergences was explored--divergent language codes, divergent social, cultural, and economic stratifications, and divergent linguistic expectations, behaviors, and dispositions. The study focused on the motivational factors that prompted attendance at All-White, all-girl, private schools despite feelings of success within culturally segregated Jump Rope Communities. The resilience of spirit necessary to continue to move the race forward that is displayed by the African American female is also explored. The research includes an historical look into the benefits of and challenges of segregation, integration, resegregation, and the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on the creation and continuance of Jump Rope Communities. Through a personal view of lived experience, the researcher took an inside look into the spirit of togetherness, the establishment of a unifying goal, and synergy that exists among the Jump Rope community members. Various forms of literacy such as cultural literacy, family literacy, community literacy, music literacy, artistic literacy, historical literacy, and oral literacy were explored. In exploring these forms of literacy, the researcher calls for a recognition of cultural self, cultural voice, and cultural identity and an on-going effort to build a cultural community to prevent the loss of cultural and linguistic heritage. INDEX WORDS: Black Feminist Thought, Critical Race Theory, Oral History, African American Females, Integration, Segregation, Desegregation, Civil Rights, Literacy, Critical Literacy, Resiliency, Cultural Identity, Minority Community

Research Data and Supplementary Material