Six Black Women Educators Coming Undone Together: The Power of Collective Healing and Self-Recovery Writing on our Journeys Toward Emancipation




Betts, Sascha E.

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This qualitative inquiry sought to understand the impact of self-recovery writing and sacred healing circles on the overall healing and emancipation of six Black women leaders in the K-12 sphere. Black women leading in predominantly under-resourced communities are routinely overworked, overlooked, and underappreciated, and this research serves as an exemplar of what can surface when we are seen, valued, and nourished. This dual method study endeavored to record the stories of each of the research partners, walk them through a healing modality that would allow them to tackle the trauma hidden in their unconscious minds, and guide them through a community process that created space for new patterns of engagement to emerge. The Black women who participated in this project aided in the development of a concurrent emancipatory self-study and liberatory community-study in which they explored the power of healing their trauma both individually and in community. This work asked each of them to grapple with a new form of narrative inquiry titled self-recovery writing while also exploring what it means to heal in public amongst friends and colleagues. This level of introspection required patience, vulnerability, and radical self-care. In order to fully understand the stories shared by my research partners, I employed a conceptual framework outfitted with African symbology in the form of Adinkra symbols. Findings revealed that the Black women in this study are regularly confronted with four dominant themes: Experiencing and fighting anti-Blackness, perfectionism, centering joy, peace and love, and mothering.



Black women in k-12 leadership, emancipation, leadership, projection, self-recovery writing, Adinkra symbols, unconscious mind, shadow self


Betts, S. E. (2023). Six Black women educators coming undone together: The power of collective healing and self-recovery writing on our journeys toward emancipation (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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