Document Type



Doctor of Education



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Matthew D. Davis, Ph.D.


Lynn Beckwith, Ed.D.

Carl Hoagland, Ph.D.

Billie Mayo, Ed.D.


This study identifies W.E.B. Du Bois’ theory of education as put forth in his Black Flame trilogy (BFT). A longitudinal survey of culture and society—specifically educational disparities in the United States from 1863 through 1956, the BFT bears close textual analysis to reveal how the processes of racialization and colonization as well as the movement toward globalization influence education and its contribution to the dehumanization of students. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome and critical race theory are theoretical tools of analysis that create a multi-generational dialectic that understands Du Bois’ BFT as a socio-historical analysis of White supremacy that establishes a theory of dehumanization in education. African critical theory (ACT) provides the frame that privileges the words of the elders and people sharing a common response to the dominant narrative surrounding Black students, the achievement gap, and the myth of Black inferiority. Using Du Bois’ voice throughout the analysis creates a dialectic counter-story to understand and identify existing symptoms of dehumanization, particularly in education so that we may finally seek remedy and redress.

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