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She begat this - a Black girl mixtape: exploring racialized and gendered portraits of Black women presidents at Historically Black Colleges & Universities




Ramsey, Ebony M., author
Muñoz, Susana, advisor
Bimper, Albert, committee member
Faircloth, Susan, committee member
Gasman, Marybeth, committee member
Strayhorn, Terrell, committee member

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Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.- James Baldwin. Black women have always been in the forefront leading change and supporting the attainment of education in the academy. They have been the greatest hidden figures. This study strives to nuance the experiences of Black women presidents at historically Black colleges and universities who are often overlooked and ignored. The purpose of this study is to explore how Black women make meaning of their lived experiences regarding race and gender as they laid a foundation towards a pathway to the presidency at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Using portraiture methodology, I illustrate how Black women have navigated and resisted the challenges presented by patriarchal leadership positions in the academy. I employ critical race theory (CRT) and Black feminist thought (BFT) to sculpt a critical lens that interrogates and problematizes Black women's racialized and gendered experiences. Crenshaw (1989) attributes these differences to intersectionality, a term used to address the marginalization of Black women due to their dual social identities. Centering the experiences of Black women HBCU presidents provided insight to the context in which Black women experience and navigate racism, bigotry, and patriarchy within the academy. The findings presented developed into four themes:1) the placation of whiteness as a standard 2) operating at the margins of Blackness 3) the surveillance of Black bodies and 4) resisting systems of patriarchy. Decolonizing the generational trauma that stems years of systematic racism and a patriarchal higher education institution will prove to illuminate the challenges and triumphs they experienced while leading from the president seat.


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Black women
HBCU presidents
Black women HBCU presidents
Black feminist thought


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