Term of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

Sabrina Ross

Committee Member 3

Rochelle Brock

Committee Member 3 Email



Using auto/biographical narrative inquiry from a Black woman’s perspective, parallel storytelling, and womanist methodology, while including elements of Black feminist thought and Sisterhood, I explore how racism, classism, sexism, and place formed who I was as a Black girl living in the South, as well as the Black educator that I am today. I will explore my life experiences and the life of my sister and through that my mother’s story. Using the works of bell hooks (2000, 2009), Ugena Whitlock (2007), Patricia Hill Collins (2000), Alice Walker (1982, 1983, 1997), and Rochelle Brock (2005/2010), I use references to hair, an idea taken from Michel Mitchell’s (2009) dissertation titled “Nappy Roots, Split Ends, and New Growth: An Autobiographical Narrative Inquiry into the Experiences of a Black Female Educator, No Lye” in order to help me process and relax the struggle that is at the root of my tangled and knotted existence.

There has been research conducted on Black women, their life, and the struggles of living and educating in the South, specifically in auto/biographical form; however, there are few texts that explore the effects of race, class, gender, and place as it pertains to identity from the lens of a Black twin who identifies with Black Feminist Thought, Black Womanism, and Sisterhood. Because of the epiphany that hit me when my sister cut off her hair to expose her natural strands, I use references to hair to share my story of the experiences of living in the South and the struggle that is found within being Black, a twin, and being faced with the “isms” of society. As there is struggle for the Black woman to be beautiful, especially when it comes to her tangled roots of self-expression, by telling my story, I have struggled to understand my life, my place, and my existence in relation to someone else in order to unknot the tensions of my tangled roots. This allows me to begin to take away some of the limitations that are placed on Black women and their Sisterhoods of understanding within their families and within the realms of education. It allows teachers, administrators, and others that are involved in academia to understand the identity of Black women, their historical significance to society, how they learn, and the impact that they can have within education, if given the opportunity. My goal is to bring about awareness, change, and understanding to what it means to be a Black woman in a society that strives to oppress and marginalize her existence.