Date of Award

Summer 7-29-2022

Degree Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

School

Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Masha Krsmanovic

Committee Chair School

Education

Abstract

The first historically white sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, was founded in 1851. Most historically white sororities did not begin to openly accept Black members until the mid-1900s. Since the summer of 2020, many people have been calling for racial justice reform, including within fraternities and sororities. This study sought to fill the gap in literature on Black women’s experiences in historically white sororities. The purpose of this study was to understand Black women’s experiences and their motivations to join historically white sororities. The study utilized Critical Race Theory and Black Feminist Thought as the guiding framework. The investigation was conducted utilizing interviews that were recorded, transcribed, and coded to find emerging themes. The four prominent themes from the interviews were as follows: (1) social belonging as motivation to join a sorority, (2) lack of knowledge regarding historically Black and culturallybased sororities, (3) disappointment in organization’s response to Black Lives Matter, (4) and uncertainty if membership in a historically white sorority was the right choice. The findings of this study suggested that the participants chose to join a historically white sorority for the social aspect and due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of culturally-based sororities. Also, most participants would reconsider their decision to join or would do more research on all the sorority options on their campus. These findings provide implications and suggestions to help create more equitable and inclusive experiences for Black women who choose to join historically white sororities.

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