Term of Award

Spring 2011

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

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 2

F. Erik Brooks

Committee Member 3

Wynnetta Scott-Simmons

Committee Member 3 Email



Using critical race theory (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001; Ladson-Billings, 2003; Stovall, 2005), Black feminist thought (Collins, 2000), and identity theory of oppression (Hardiman & Jackson, 1997) as the theoretical framework and autobiographical narrative inquiry (He, 2003; Moody,1968; Angleou, 1969; Hurston, 1965; hooks,1996; Jacobs, 1861) as the methodology, I explored the formal and informal educational experiences I received and reciprocated in Black church ideology and white schools and how they shaped my identity and lived experience as a Black woman in the South. I chronicled paradigm shifts in my thinking along my journey from Black Christian fundamentalism and poverty to a socially mobile agnostic college administrator and diversity educator. I used titles of songs from Black church music for chapters and stories which provide a bibliography of gospel music that connected the Black community in the shared need to survive the impact of slavery and its residual effects. Although I was moved by their soulful rhythms and warm feelings from nostalgia, my mind was often bifurcated as many of these songs also served to justify a protestant work ethic (Weber, 1920/2002) that limited the cultural capital of Blacks and especially Black women. My study used the term Black with a capital B instead of African American or AfroAmerican to identify the descendants of African slaves in the United States. The term white with a lowercase w is used to describe the descendants of immigrants from European countries who intentionally melted into North American society. The capitalized B in Black juxtaposed with the lowercase w in white serves to equalize the cultural capital among Blacks and other people of color with that of the white dominate experience in the United States. In addition to leveraging the power of white supremacy, I also use a lowercase c in christian to leverage oppression from christian privilege. My dissertation adds to several bodies of literature. First, it explores Black Theology Liberation and lifts its monopoly of emancipation particularly for Black women. It also carries the torch and makes meaningful connections from the foremothers of the Black Freedom Movement generation who wrote about their lives and gives strength to today's Black girls. Within the context of multicultural education, it shows dialectical perspectives on how Black women in the South learn. It also challenges educators, teachers, administrators, parents, and education policy makers to consider their own epistemology and validate that lived experience is neither static nor canonically realistic but has the power to impact how one receives, interprets, values and (re)produces education. Exploring the developing critical conciousness of how I see the world, whether intentionally or inadvertently, impacts how I influence the life of my Black sons and the life of the students I interact with as an educator in the increasingly diversified, complicated, and contested world.

Research Data and Supplementary Material