Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Patricia Krueger-Henney

Second Advisor

Francine Menashy

Third Advisor

Susan Eaton


As all literature and data documents, Black students historically and presently experience an entirely disparate educational experience to that of their White counterparts; one measure some Black families make to alleviate this disparity is enrollment in a program like the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) or a predominately White school as an attempt to narrow the opportunity and achievement gap. However, while academic gains have been documented, little research exists that demonstrates the social, emotional and mental bearings of such a journey especially over a long period of time into adulthood. This study examines the lived experiences of a participant in the METCO program, the longest running voluntary desegregation program in America. Initially using autoethnographic methods the author examines her journey as a METCO participant from kindergarten to high school graduation and the effects this journey had on her through college and into adulthood concerning mental health, racial identity development, and race related stress. Through a procedural analysis process of family interviews, close coding and analysis of external and internal artifacts from the author’s schooling career and beyond, this study grew into a Critical Black Feminist Autobiography that acknowledges Black women’s historical struggle against multiple oppressions (Pratt-Clarke, 2018); examines how Black women and their families negotiate the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, and class; seeks to eradicates malignant images of Black womanhood; and incorporates an activist perspective through consciousness raising and empowerment. The findings indicate that there is significant work to be done concerning the social, mental, emotional and racial health of Black children particularly those involved in any semblance of desegregating efforts or those matriculating predominantly in White schools.


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