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Black Women Speaking From Within

Essays and Experiences in Higher Education


Edited By Kelly K. Hope

In Black Women Speaking From Within: Essays and Experiences in Higher Education, contributors use intersectional and interdisciplinary lenses to share the ways in which they understand, navigate, resist, and transform student services, learning, teaching, and existing in the academy. This book explores and discusses the following question: How do Black women experience and perceive place and agency in higher education? Black Women Speaking From Within draws upon the influence organizational culture, sense-making, and sisterhood has on praxis and pedagogy and places the Black woman’s stories and experiences at the center of the conversation.

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Chapter 1: Black Women Staff in the Academy: Challenges, Sisterhood, and Strategies for Success (Kimberly D. Johnson)


Chapter 1: Black Women Staff in the Academy: Challenges, Sisterhood, and Strategies for Success


Black women at universities across the country face a multitude of issues in higher education (Miles, 2012). These women tell stories about their lives that are different from the stories that other people tell about us (Bobo, 1991). They focus on strength, resilience, and their daily struggles. According to Boylorn (2013), her project Sweetwater offered her a unique opportunity and responsibility to review the language used about Black women’s lives, and the language that Black women use to tell about their lives as well as make sense of them. For years, Black women have overlooked themselves as they have been overlooked, accepting, without critique, the versions of their lives and realities offered back to them by others (Boylorn, 2013).

The experiences of Black women staff in higher education is a story that needs to be revealed. This community of women often is not recognized in the field of higher education. Therefore, they are not seen as key players within the institution. A focus on staff in support positions is necessary because typically they do not have opportunities for their voices to be heard. They also tend to be less influential and hold the least political power within the academy. Furthermore, Black women staff at predominantly White institutions (PWIs) are often slighted by underprivileged consequences in contrast to their White counterparts.

Although there...

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