Exploring Black Student Accounts of Anti-Black Structural Violence at an HBCU

Heather R Sanders, Tennessee State University


While several studies have discussed the existence of internalized oppression and the residuum of anti-Blackness at Black colleges and universities (learning spaces originally intended for Black scholarship), detailed experiences with and consequences of this phenomenon are not common. Using emergent design, this critical ethnography will examine the storied responses of Black students attending a public, southeastern HBCU regarding potentially normalized antiblackness and internalized oppression or anti-Black structural violence. Student interviews, classroom observations, a review of organizational documents and written accounts on public forums will be investigated using the theoretical frameworks of Bell's critical race theory and Galtung's theories of structural and cultural violence. I will likewise examine how this type of violence may affect student engagement, racial empowerment, and identity development. I will later discuss the responsibility of educational leadership to provide and maintain safe learning spaces for Black students that challenge White supremacy and Black inferiority norms on their respective campuses with intentionality and a heightened sense of accountability.

Subject Area

Higher education

Recommended Citation

Heather R Sanders, "Exploring Black Student Accounts of Anti-Black Structural Violence at an HBCU" (2020). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI27833670.