Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Thomasina Hassler, Ph.D., Chair


Thomasina Hassler, Ph. D.

Shenita Mayes, Ph. D.

Robert Good, Ph.D.


ABSTRACT The purpose of this research was to study the effects of spirit assassination attempts and whether their influence is enduring throughout life and can be linked to my emotional, mental, and physical health. In 1987, the term spirit murdering was coined by Williams to describe the everyday encounters with racism and discrimination, which can evoke a profound sense of powerlessness, hopelessness, and sadness in Black people. I use the term spirit assassination attempts to describe the repeated, intentional words, body language, looks, and actions intended to remind Black people of their societal position intended to destroy hope, joy, and self-esteem and take away dignity and respect. Spirit assassination attempts are wounds whose cumulative effect can lead to spirit murdering. The Color of Mind and critical race theory comprise the theoretical base of this research. This autoethnography provides a personal look into my struggles to counter the negative perception of Black inferiority and the complexities and consequences involved in navigating life in a racist society. Reasons for the failure of mental health services to the Black community are discussed. This study validates The Color of Mind's tenet that the achievement gap is intentionally constructed and maintained and critical race theory’s tenet that race is infused in all aspects of life. Keywords: Spirit assassination, spirit murdering, racial trauma, White supremacy, toxic stress, culture conflict, racism