Date of Award

August 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Cultural Foundations of Education


Gwendolyn D. Pough

Second Advisor

Ruth N. Brown


Art Education, Black Feminism, Black Girlhood, Digital Humanities, Sound Art, Sound Studies

Subject Categories



This dissertation is an autoethnography of my three-year and ongoing participation in Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT), a creative organizing collective that focuses on envisioning and creating spaces within the local community that celebrates the complex lived experiences of Black girls with Black girls. In this project, I argue sounds of collective Black girlhood, created in SOLHOT, reveal the importance of collective music-making practices in Black girlhood studies and girl programming. Cruising, Crossings and care, as sounds of collective Black girlhood created in SOLHOT, resound us towards 1) being with Black girls and women across difference in deep love, trust and care 2) remembering Black feminist/women and artists love and care for each other as critical to how we celebrate and organize Black girlhood, together.

I begin with a review of literature of Black feminism, Black girlhood studies, performance studies and sound studies to locate and define the range of research that center Black girls and women’s lived experience and power made together, particularly as it relates to organizing a Black girl sound. Treating SOLHOT visual and material archives, Black feminist poetic texts, as well as the digital music productions, art and performances that come from being in intentional relationship and sociality with Black women and girls as primary sources and usable truths. My analysis theorizes from sound and music created in SOLHOT, Black feminist poetic texts, and experiences of being an artist with the collective.

This work addresses sounds and songs that come from doing Black girlhood celebration and function as a way to document, analyze, interrogate and make space for complex Black girlhood in service of creating a better now and future that get us away from "programming" youth and more into making space/power for us to be fully human, together, across generations and differences. Making a specific contribution to Black girlhood studies, SOLHOT, art education and feminist theory, this study expands how we creatively engage Black girls, Black feminist organizing genealogies and practices, where music-making, poetry and sound serve as ways to remember our relational work and envision spaces and worlds to live out our full humanity.


Open Access

Included in

Education Commons