Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Wendy Luttrell

Committee Members

Jason Van Ora

Terrie Epstein

Dena Simmons

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Education | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


Black and Brown Women, Independent Schools, Whiteness, Critical Race Feminist, Qualitative Inquiry, Personal Narratives, Voice


This dissertation joins the voices of experiences of Black and Brown individuals in elite white spaces of independent schools. As a qualitative research project this study utilizes narrative, I Poems, and art-ifacts to create an ecology of experiences illustrating the past and the resiliency of the present. This research disrupts status quo narratives of lauded diversity efforts of excellent private school education and is a call to action for accountability in anti-racist owning up and restructuring of independent school spaces, leadership, governance and cultural practices. Undergirded by Critical Race Feminist Theory as the theoretical framework this dissertation presents the intersectional, gendered, emotional labor in the experiences as depicted by the now adult women who were once students and an adult diversity practitioner’s reflections with their art-facts of resilience. Revealed are the ways that voice, efficacy and self are performed and impacted by the context of whiteness in a learning institution. Together these solitary experiences become a chorus of voices whose survivance illuminate a powerful critique of the private school space and the omnipresence of white supremacy frameworks which shape, disrupt and sharpen the story of their lives. This research bears witness by the experiential accounts of Black and Brown members of communities who are separate and experiencing an unequal educational trajectory, managing a different burden and experiencing a completely disparate school experience than their white peers despite achieving a shared academic privilege in the white private school space.