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Locating Black Women's Educational Experience In The Context Of Community (Page 3)
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Likewise, the lives of the other three Black women were as much challenged as Montana's. However, all the narratives reflect on the situation of the Black woman and how little her material conditions have changed over the last 100 years (Brown, 2002). Black women with a GED are the last to be promoted regardless of their level of experience (Brewer, 1993). The ceiling that continues to restrict the progress of Black women in industry is a combination of race, class, and gender (Epstein, 1973); the number of Black women appointed to governmental positions has not affected this situation. Although the GED is a benchmark for a Black woman's literacy attainment, society has not challenged racism and its negative impact in the workplace (Critzer, 1998). Society is still not built to embrace the Black woman as a deserving member. Any individual change in a person's life depends primarily on individual effort not on societal support. (Ashe & Rampersad, 1993). The lack of Black women experiencing success in the GED is not solely due to them not taking on the challenge. It is also a result of the obstacles in the way.

The findings of the research are as complex as the topic. The women's success was owed to the strong support groups, which enabled the women to challenge the institutional racism that has been ingrained in the educational system for centuries. This journey was accomplished through a spiritual guidance, in a sense; the body and soul were one. The feeling of being connected encouraged the women to keep trying, even if the challenge was enormous. The women did not perceive themselves as individuals but as members of their families and communities. This realization enabled them to see that their success was not for their personal benefit solely but a success for everyone. This understanding is significant ,as it demonstrates that the support of the group was intertwined with the individual journey. Every woman elegantly articulated how her success was celebrated in her family and community.

Joanne Dowdy realized that the importance of these stories was the resistance that these women mobilized. They resisted the odds against their success and continued the struggle as productive members of our society. Being a member of a community does not necessarily demolish a person's individuality; it empowers one to struggle for success. Appreciating the Black woman's paradoxical reality enables us as educators to go beyond what is written in textbooks about literacy and formal education. We should not cease the articulation of the complexities of race, class, and gender. We should instead continue to keep the discussion alive until everyone in our society is successfully embraced. Therefore, Dowdy's book is part of the dialogue not only in its understanding of the historical injustices Black people have endured, but also as it reminds us as educators to challenge the continuing discriminations. Dowdy's book is also a good example of the complex relationship between researcher and interviewees especially in this context.


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