Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education




International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Colette Cann

Second Advisor

Patrick Camangian

Third Advisor

Cheryl Walker

Fourth Advisor

Nathan Alexander


American K-12 schooling is one cog in a system of structural racism, with antiblackness as a foundational pillar (Brown University, 2015; Dumas, 2014; Dumas & ross, 2016). Within the structurally racist institution of education, Black students are most likely to experience criminalization, adultification, invisiblization, ostracization, and tokenization in school settings (Brown University, 2015; Bryan, 2020; Epstein, Black, & Gonzalez, 2017). For Black students in suburban schools, especially, the antiblack messaging can be more consistent and direct, having deleterious effects on their development (Chapman, 2017; Ferguson, 2002). Centering my work inside a suburban school district via a Black women-founded-and-run non-profit, this study explored the “homeplaces” (hooks, 2014/1994) Black educators create amidst the backdrop of systemic antiblackness. I introduce the conceptual framework, Black Liberatory Educational Subversion (BLES), that codifies the fugitive and liberatory practices of Black educators in defense of Black students. Overall, this study unpacked two questions: (1) What necessitates the presence of BLES spaces in suburban schools, and (2) What is the perceived impact of BLES spaces from the viewpoint of Black suburban youth? Through a series of four community circle sessions, students provided testimony about their experiences in BLES spaces and their respective suburban school sites during the course of a school year. Overall, the findings reflected that the totality of Black students’ interactions with educators and peers in suburban schools had profound effects on identity development. What also emerged from the findings were various methods of what I called social surthrival that students developed through their engagement in the BLES space provided by the non-profit. The implications of this study yield multiple pathways towards ensuring the futurity of Black student education. I posit the need for further scholarship on the schooling experiences of Black suburban youth. Additionally, I urge teacher education programs to better prepare Black student-teachers for the racialized experiences they may encounter in suburban faculties. I also suggest institutional pathways that ensure faculty and administration preparedness to receive Black students and teachers. Lastly, I advocate for a humanizing approach to funding that is unattached to deficit lenses and the exploitation of Black traumas in exchange for financial support.