Black Mothers in the Academy

Date / Time

November 7, 2019

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Mothering while pursuing one’s education is not uncommon for Black women in the U.S. More than one-fifth of all undergraduate students are parents, the majority of whom are single mothers. Black women are more likely than any other group of women in the U.S. to be raising children while getting their education, whether at community colleges or 4-year public, private, or for-profit institutions. They also hold more student debt than all other groups. The multigenerational aspect of educational attainment for Black women students who are mothers is often hidden from view but matters for how Black women students navigate the university, how they respond to often hostile academic and social environments, and what it takes for them to succeed.

This Onwards conversation centers the experiences of Black women in university spaces – as students, educators, workers – who do mothering and caregiving work. We will read and discuss excerpts from Sekile Nzinga-Johnson’s anthology Laboring Positions: Black Women, Mothering and The Academy (Demeter Press, 2013).

Questions we will consider include:

– What does it mean for Black women to be students and mothers? How might social class, sexuality, family background, immigration status, etc. affect how Black women negotiate mothering and caring for children and others while studying?
– How does the experience of mothering transform one’s academic experiences and aspirations?
– What are the ways that academic institutions can recognize and support the unique situations of Black student-mothers?

Dinner will be provided.

Recommended Reading

Hosted by the UIC Women’s Leadership and Resource Center as part of Onwards, a conversation series that aims to bring people together to talk about difficult issues that overlap with, but are not limited to, feminisms. Onwards provides an opportunity for people to speak frankly about the significance of feminisms in our past, present, and future.

WLRC’s suite is wheelchair-accessible and includes an accessible, all-gender restroom. The building has an elevator to reach the third floor. The front entrance to the building requires using a buzzer that is above many wheelchair heights. Please feel free to call us at (312) 413-1025 when you arrive for assistance with the front door. Please call or email us a few days in advance for any other accommodation requests.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email