Lillian Dowdell Drakeford, Ph.D. is a 2010 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dissertation Committee

  • Jon Wergin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Philomena Essed, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Heather Andrea Williams, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • George W. Noblit, Ph.D., External Reader


education, educational reform, American history, critical race theory, inequality, secondary education, Gary, Indiana, Theodore Roosevelt High School, historiography, case study, racism, African Americans, Blacks, school leadership, race-critical

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This dissertation examines the history and impact of color-blind educational reform in the post-Brown era on racial inequality of educational opportunities and outcomes in America's public schools. Through the lens of critical race theory and race critical theory, the dissertation employs a dual analysis. A macro analysis of the evolution and impact of colorblind educational reform on the national level is juxtaposed with a micro, case-study analysis of the history of color-blind educational reform at a historically Black high school. The historical analysis of the relationship between race and education encompasses intellectual and social aspects of education in the U.S. during the pre-Brown era, however, this dissertation's primary interest is on the past forty years, 1970 to the present. The dissertation draws on the work of traditional critical race scholars, critical race theorists in education, and critical theory pedagogues. Largely informed by document and policy evidence, the aim of the macro analysis is to reconstruct the history of education in the U.S. from a race-critical perspective. While archival evidence is very important to the microanalysis, the locus of analysis at the micro level centers on the narrative, antenarrative, microstoria, and lived experiences of the people most closely associated with the case study. By making the people its focus, the dissertation uncovered nuanced understandings and submerged interpretations that provide valuable insight into the relationship between race, education, and educational reform in the African American community. The resulting narrative exposed the racialized oppression of color-blind educational reform and the effects of internalized racism, and suggested the need for a counterhegemonic culture and emancipatory pedagogy in predominantly African American schools, thus revealing hopeful possibilities in the development of a race-critical twenty-first century conscientization. The electronic version of this dissertation is at OhioLINK ETD Center,