Doctor of Philosophy
Date of Defense
Matthew D. Davis, Ph.D.
Using a combination of Critical Race Theory, self-determination, and Black radical imagination as a theoretical framework, this dissertation explores how the features of Black educational imagination – liberatory pedagogy, critically conscious acts, and a revitalized Black teaching force – animate Black school space. These spaces facilitate the re-humanization of Black people, the recognition of counter-narratives as valuable, and the consideration of racial trauma in hiring practices. Each space represents a meaningful recognition of Black radical imagination and therefore inform my actions in the workplace. I argue that a possible path towards liberating Black people from racialized oppression is paved by developing and attending to these Black spaces because they are organized acts of resistance against white supremacy. Detailing my experiences as a Black educator working in a large, suburban, prestigious, predominantly white school district, my three anchor stories – A Mole Amongst Us, The Courage to Stand, and The Trauma is Real – narrate the ways in which I seek out and engage in Black space in order to counteract the harmful effects of racism. Because Black spaces are not actually physical space, they are completely controlled by the individual and therefore cannot be given or taken away by someone else. By creating and engaging in spaces that are not fully controlled by white supremacy, Black educational imagination has a chance to develop and flourish despite the inevitable hostility caused by white supremacy. Since Black spaces are a source of power and control, they also become a source of healing from racial trauma.
Mayes, Shenita Nicole, "Black Spaces in White Places: Toward Black Educational Imagination" (2016). Dissertations. 79.