Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Terrence Tucker

Committee Member

Shelby Crosby

Committee Member

Ladrica Menson-Furr

Committee Member

Joseph Jones


This dissertation uses historical and literary mediums to assign pedagogical skills and communal benefit to African American female subjugation and labor typically associated with turmoil, ignominy, and struggle. Accordingly, Black feminist commentary (Lorde) is in conversation with theories of pedagogy (hooks, Ladson-Billings, Dewey) as well as literary philosophy and criticism (Bakhtin, Baraka) about the particular ways each field of study contribute to the analysis of twentieth century African American literature but also provide specific methods for Black communities to construct, implement, and sustain educational principles throughout time. Using the term communal pedagogy, I argue that African American culture has an inherent pedagogy based on survival literacies produced during the Middle Passage. These literacies build upon oral traditions, spirituality, mass movement throughout the twentieth century, and sociopolitical Movements, under the Black womans subjugated leadership. Organized around the Great Migration, the dissertation begins before its onset to reveal the brutal circumstances that initiated survival literacies during the Middle Passage. Through literary texts and historical examples the chapters move with characters through the rural South to the urban North and West scrutinizing the ways individuals internalization of cultural and hegemonic traditions inform pedagogy. By the end of the Great Migration in the 1970s, aggravations of the civil rights era produce intentional and unintentional Black female facilitators of communal pedagogy, proving the necessity of movement with the Black community. However, when some chose to rebuke traditions and communal pedagogys individual collectivism, they brought destruction to the community. Nonetheless, the civil rights era invigorated lost cultural traditions by recalling Zora Neale Hurstons literary spirit. The juxtaposition of old folkloric traditions with new sociopolitical Movements represents Bakhtins heteroglossia as women began to teach through their own centralizing practices in order to destabilize systemic forces. Effectively, these forces affected children as they emulated the Black women who taught them about hierarchal systems of power through cultural traditions. Ultimately, communal pedagogy broadens the scope of Black womens talents through a historical and literary lens and has a profound effect on how scholars and teachers envision the African American community sustaining a pervasive pedagogy.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest