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Leading While Black

Reflections on the Racial Realities of Black School Leaders Through the Obama Era and Beyond


Floyd Cobb

What does it mean to lead while Black in America? How do Black educators lead for equity to ensure a quality academic experience for Black children when calls for equality are routinely discredited in our post-racial context? Through this book, Floyd Cobb passionately and honestly draws from his personal and professional experiences to describe his path to accepting the harsh realities of being an equity-minded Black leader in K–12 schools. Offered through the performance of autoethnography, Cobb highlights and gives voice to the often-unacknowledged vulnerability of equity-minded Black leaders who work in suburban contexts. Using the era of the Obama presidency as the backdrop for this work, Cobb illuminates the challenges and complexities of advocating for marginalized children who come from a shared racial heritage in a society that far too often are reluctant to accept such efforts. Through Leading While Black, emerging and aspiring Black leaders will be reminded that they are not alone in their struggles, but must nonetheless persist if we are to do our part in making education a better experience for our children.

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When I first sat down to write this book, I was in a considerable amount of pain. Still grieving the passing of my father-in-law and mentor John Buckner and struggling to make sense of a lot that I was observing in the world, I used this work to channel my sorrow and anguish with the hope that it would enable me to find the right words to allow me to make sense of all that I had been feeling. At the completion of this book, I can say that it certainly has and I feel fortunate that I have been blessed with a skill that allowed this.

One of the strange ironies of this process was that I didn’t think I had enough words in me to actually sit down and write this book. I knew this work was important but initially thought that it would be best to have it communicated as an edited volume. However, it was a conversation with Rich Milner that convinced me otherwise. Rich gave me the confidence to know that I had the words in me to tell my story as it was definitely one that needed to be told. So first and foremost I want to say thank you to Rich Milner for giving me that final push that I needed to write this book. ← xv | xvi →

Thank you to the scholars who have played such an important role in my life, in my journey to become...

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