Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Dr. Thomasina Hassler


Dr. Shanita Mayes


Dr. Thomasina Hassler

Dr. Shanita Mayes

Dr. JaNae' Alfred

Dr. Robert Good


In this collection of autoethnographies, four researchers explored our deeply personal experiences and encounters with racialized oppression in the form of spirit-murder. Using Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Critical Whiteness Studies, this dissertation explores how two white educators have committed spirit-murder against Black students and how two Black educators have both experienced spirit-murder as students and have spirit-murdered their Black and Brown students as classroom teachers. We wanted to elevate our voices using counter-stories as a tenet of CRT and examples of our teaching practices. We aimed to elicit relatable suggestions to combat spirit-murdering from white educators toward Black students during their grade school and college experiences. All four educators hoped that by sharing, we exposed not only the existence and effects of spirit-murder and ways we were working to eliminate these unfair acts and practices but also ways to better support Black children in classrooms where racist school systems still exist. We reflected on the personal damage caused to us as Black children and created by us towards Black children as white and Black educators. We analyzed the importance and value of a person’s spirit, the term “murder,” and the phrase “spirit-murder,” as they related to our experiences. We shared encounters from grade school to college classrooms in public, private, urban, and suburban settings. Our cohort dissertation group consists of a Black male who is an assistant principal, a white male who is a former visual arts teacher and is now an athletic director, a white female who is a high school English teacher, and a Black female who is a district culture and climate coordinator.

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