In January of 2010, Harvard Educational Review editor Chantal Francois sat down at a Manhattan diner with three young black women, two of whom were her former students at a New York City high school. Chantal invited the women to come together and share their experiences as freshmen at predominantly white institutions along the East Coast. While each of these young women drew largely from her own experiences transitioning into different college settings, each highlights themes from both Fordham's and Kynard's research—including the emotional stress that being confined by labels can cause and the importance of finding a cipher from which to draw strength. In this conversation, the women shed the layers they typically don in white educational settings, instead creating a space where they can be real, find comfort,and speak from the core. What's more, their stories echo the themes of talking black, talking back, fictive kinship, and complicity, which Iris Carter Ford's commentary describes as central to conversations about black women in America today. From Victoria, Imani, and Darleen, we hear firsthand accounts of the commitment to struggle and the communal strength that continue to exist in the sacred spaces carved out by young black women in American educational institutions.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.