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D.I.V.A. Diaries

The Road to the Ph.D. and Stories of Black Women Who Have Endured

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Edited By Cherrel Miller Dyce and Toni Milton Williams

The Distinguished, Intellectual, Virtuous, Academic Sistas (D.I.V.A.S.) is a group of Black women who formed a bond with one another as doctoral students as a means of support on their journey through the academy. The acronym defines the women individually and as an entire group. This anthology can be used as a practical, student-centered sourcebook for Black female doctoral candidates. By providing narratives about the importance of race, class, culture, religion, socioeconomics, and nationality, this book aims to encourage more Black women to pursue a terminal degree and to continue professional development throughout their careers. It provides readers with strategies to sustain themselves while in a graduate program, on the job market, and during the tenure-earning process. Contributors are full of passion as they encourage one another while bringing the reader into their realm of the academic battlefield.

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Chapter 2. Putting on the Garment of Theory: Now You See Me, Now You Don’t (Cynthia Brooks Wooten)

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2. Putting on the Garment of Theory: Now You See Me, Now You Don’t CynThia Brooks WooTen I now know that experience comes to us for a purpose, and if we follow the guid- ance of the spirit within us, we will probably find that the purpose is a good one. — Ruby Bridges Unlike Ruby Bridges going off to school for the first time, the decision to pursue a terminal degree was a pretty uneventful decision for me. I did not have federal marshals escorting me, there was no renowned artist around to capture my walk into the brick-and-mortar establishment, and there was no story about my encounter; that is, until now. However, what Ruby and I did have in common was a support group standing by our side as we embarked upon the educational journey ahead. I was born in the late 1950s and attended segregated schools in the South, following the Supreme Court decision that outlawed racial segregation in public schools all over the United States. This decision was viewed by many people, my parents included, as a principal leap towards creating a just nation, reflecting the principles on which it was founded (Harris, 1956). North Car- olina’s answer to this mandate was the Pearsall Plan (Thuesen, 2006), which had the aim of achieving two goals: the preservation of public education in North Carolina and peace throughout North Carolina. Although I hail from forward-thinking parents, I am unsure if my supportive family ever dreamed I would strive for...

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