Date of Award

Winter 11-10-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Education


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Horace Hall

Second Advisor

Crystal Laura

Third Advisor

Kristal Clemons


While any student is susceptible to experiencing a traumatic incident, students living in socio-economically marginalized communities are often exposed at higher rates. Students from racial minority groups are more likely to experience distress from acts of violence committed against People of color than their White counterparts. For educators working in predominantly Black, Chicago communities, exposure to violence directly and via the shared experiences from students occurs disproportionately compared to educators working in other areas of the city. Educators working within particular communities battle the effects of chronic stress and structural racism, while striving to create hope and academic success within their students. Research suggests that African-American educators’ use of culturally responsive pedagogical methods in tandem with their humanistic commitment to students is integral to student success. It is critical that the perspectives of Black educators committed to creating environments where students can thrive academically amidst stressful conditions found outside the classroom are captured. Their narratives can further identify practices necessary to better support success within Black students while also highlighting the impacts felt by educators working in chronically stressed communities. The purpose of this research study is to present educator personal narratives on how they create supportive academic spaces for students to thrive, while highlighting the barriers faced by students and educators on the road to academic success. This study employs Critical Race Theory as both the methodological and theoretical framework to analyze the experiences of participant narratives.