A Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Testimonies of Black Women's Experience of Desegregation in the South
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
Committee Member 3 Email
This is an inquiry into school desegregation, Black Women, and spirituality with the focus on three young Black Women who desegregated a small rural high school in the South. Theoretically drawing upon the works of Alice Walker (1983, 1997, 2006), Audre Lorde (2007), Emilie Townes (1995, 1996, 1997), Toni Morrison (1988, 1993, 1998), James Anderson (1988), and William Watkins (1993, 2003, 2001, 2005, 2006), I gather testimonies of key events that help understand desegregation in Queensburg, Alabama, a fictional town that represents many rural Southern towns during the era of school desegregation. Methodologically drawing upon oral history (Brown, 1988; Haley, 2004; Harding, 1981; Ross, 2003) and fiction (Gomez, 1991; Banks, 1998; Walker, 1982; Morrison, 1998, 2008), I create three fictional characters, Mary, Barbara Anne, and Louise and invent fictional events, settings, and plots based upon oral histories collected. I use a metaphor of a-bridge-over-troubled-waters throughout my dissertation while the bridge symbolizes hope, peace, and faith and troubled waters symbolize turmoil, separation, and inequality. I capitalize the "B" in the word Black, "W" in the word Woman, "F" in the word Female, and "S" in the word South/Southern to empower historically marginalized and oppressed individuals and groups. I used a lower case "w" in the word white, "m" in the word male, and "m" in the word men to challenge dominant and privileged individuals and groups. With Black Women's spirituality as a central theme, each chapter begins with a verse from a gospel song that testifies to the importance of race, place, and gender, and the power of spirituality. Testimonies of Mary, Barbara Anne, and Louise raise challenging questions about segregation and desegregation in history and the current state of schooling. How did desegregation occur at Queensburg High School? Why is a school such as Queensburg High School still segregated 40 years after desegregation? What did it take for these three Southern Black Women to desegregate Queensburg High School? How can we use fiction, desegregation, and Sankofa to improve education today? Why does the public in the United States sit back and tolerate educational inequality? I hope that experiences of these Southern Black Women provide testimonies to empower marginalized and disenfranchised individuals and groups to build a mighty bridge over turbulent troubled waters to create hopes and dreams for all to reach their highest human potential.
Bullard, Marketa, "A Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Testimonies of Black Women's Experience of Desegregation in the South" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 52.
Research Data and Supplementary Material