Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Michelle Zoss, PhD.

Second Advisor

Janice Fournillier, PhD.

Third Advisor

Aaminah Norris, PhD.

Fourth Advisor

Joseph Feinberg, PhD.


Black women teachers carry a powerful legacy of teaching philosophies and practices that center liberation, anti-racism, and resistance in their classrooms. Teacher education programs in the United States often prioritize whiteness with Eurocentric canons of educational philosophies that neglect to represent the rich ancestry of Black women as teachers in America. When Black women teachers enter the field, they find that the nature of schooling today continues an oppressive history that isolates, silences, and undervalues them. This study joins in (re)membering the legacies and traditions of Black women teachers to inform our present and future selves in the field. Dr. Anna Julia Cooper is among a lineage of Black women teachers throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries whose early philosophies and teaching embodiments illuminated the importance of Black women’s proximity to education and liberation. Womanism and daughtering created the theoretical ground for this historical ethnography to delineate the presence and influence of one historical and ancestral Black woman teacher, Anna Julia Cooper, on the herstories and pedagogical practices of three Black women teachers in the South. I used endarkened narrative inquiry to curate a study that represented stories of presence, knowledge, and pedagogy in a lineage of Black women teachers that emerged in a layered analysis of archival data, interviews, and my researcher’s journal. This study positioned the presence of multiple generations of teachers who persisted through oppression, developed care and accountability in their pedagogies and served as vital holders and producers of knowledge. The study illuminated their contributions through a short story format to show the vitality of their wisdom for teacher preparation and the future of Black women teachers. The implications of this study call for teacher education to embrace and nurture the educational philosophies and practices of Southern Black women teachers throughout history and educational research to support alternative qualitative methods and inquiry.


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