Date of Award

Fall 1-5-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Joyce King, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Janice Fourniller, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Stephanie Evans, Ph.D

Fourth Advisor

Kristen Buras, Ph.D


This Africana Womanist, oral history illuminates the lives of activist Black women teachers’ wellness practices past and present, who have taught in the metro Atlanta, Georgia area for five years or more. The women share their stories on life and wellness while teaching in the public school system and navigating the pandemics of racism, sexism, white supremacy, and social unrest. Using oral history as a methodology, this work is theoretically positioned within the framework of womanism, which centers the experiences of everyday Black women and Africana Womanism, which is grounded in Afrocentricity and the experiences of African women. The major research question that guides this study is the following: 1) How do three self-identified activist Black women teachers resist the multiple forms of oppression and marginalization they face in the U.S. as they navigate their educational and professional journeys? Using oral history methods to conduct interviews and photovoice activities, I examine their perspectives on: (a) their experiences as activist Black women teachers, and (b) their wellness and practices they have used to remain in their profession. The overwhelming evidence from the interviews, artifacts, and photovoice activities suggests that activist Black women teachers often engaged in unpaid labor in the name of their students, schools, and community. This labor makes it difficult for them to maintain their physical wellness practices, however, their spiritual wellness practices give them the strength to navigate and remain in the educational profession.

Major findings also indicated that activist Black Women Teacher’s practiced three wellness activist codes, Respite, Artfulness, and Spirit, in the educational profession in order to resist the pandemics associated with teaching. BWT experiences’ highlighted the need for policies which address teacher wellness in order to retain highly qualified and critical thinking change agents in the classroom.


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