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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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When Audre Lorde (1984) says “each of us is here now because in one way or another we share a commitment to language and to the power of language, and to the reclaiming of that language which has been made to work against us” (p. 44), I am reminded first, that black women, who speak and use their voice, are often labeled and typecast angry or aggressive. Second, I am reminded that speaking carries with it a responsibility to study and to speak from an informed position. Third, I am reminded that to speak in such a way that language turns into mobilization may carry with it adverse conse­quences, frustrating days, and isolation. Last, I am reminded that this work, this calling to transgress and speak from within the ivory tower is not only needed but required. For when we speak, the potential of what could be is awakened, and possibilities are turned into realities.

Perhaps you’ve experienced racial battle fatigue. Or maybe you’re not familiar with the concept because you’re not a black woman, but an ally who seeks to understand more clearly the experiences of black women and how it relates to educating and working with black and brown people. No matter your reason for picking up this book, this collection of essays and experiences captures the experiences of nine black women.

By immersing ourselves in the landscape of higher education, we were able to access, assess, and expose the challenges...

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