Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Elizabeth Fones-Wolf

Committee Member

Ken Fones-Wolf

Committee Member

Sam Stack

Committee Member

William Hal Gorby

Committee Member

James Siekmeier


It takes a village to finish a doctoral program. My village includes many people who supported me and encouraged over a number of years. I want to thank my advisor, Liz Fones-Wolf, for believing in me. She came to my home, crawled on the floor and played with my toddlers while simultaneously encouraging me to take my exams and start writing. When Melody Meadows asked if I could pinch hit for a semester and teach a class at West Virginia Wesleyan College, the short-term job turned into a tenure track position because she pushed me to take my comprehensive exams in that subtle ways of hers. Dean James Moore gave me the gift of a sabbatical so I could finish my research and draft my dissertation. My husband, Jason, took over the reigns as I poured over documents in just about every room in the house, making sure I was fed and had all the essentials. My children Darby and Derek spent a good chunk of their formidable years watching me write. My daughter Kyatt witnessed much of the writing from afar due to her own academic commitments, but was never too busy to offer words of support. It is my hope that all three children realize that success is built on diligence, commitment, and consistency. My mother, Debra Swank, easily the most gifted writer in our family, never pressured me by asking about timelines. She was always interested in the work and so excited to see the outcome. I am particularly thankful to my family and the large number of people who were willing to share their experiences with me. The Brown decision was made by the Supreme Court, but these lovely folks endured segregation. Many of them integrated schools and struggled to break the bonds of decades of Jim Crow in the process. This was a tall order for children and they are indeed revolutionaries.

Embargo Reason

Publication Pending

Available for download on Tuesday, December 31, 2024