Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Michael Bowman


“Who’s at the Kitchen Table?” is not a generality; I focus on six Black “Iowa” Women in my family, the Jones-Davis Women whose Kitchen Table Education-Activism (Kitchen TEA) transpired in unlikely cities and towns in Iowa, one of the least “Black” populated states in the union. Although the Jones-Davis Women were not public school teachers, they exemplified a long tradition of Black Women educators who created spaces to educate their local community for the purpose of uplifting Black people. In this dissertation I demonstrate that individually and collectively, these women were educator-activists and their histories developed within, and as part of an ongoing Black freedom struggle that has shape-shifted over time.

Viewed from my positionality as a situated knower, there is a triple advantage or consciousness, of a shared reality in the ways Black Women’s lives have been uniquely shaped because of our intersectionality of race and gender oppression systems. However, my study focuses on the shared realities of the histories of these six Black “Iowa” Women that I suggest are uniquely shaped by “geography”. Moreover, “who’s at the Kitchen Table” grew in complexity as an idea and indictment, more than a simple answer to the question I initially asked. The initial idea was that there was something significantly profound that transpired when Black Women gathered at the kitchen table, that overarchingly is described in the context of my Grandmother “Aldeen’s” “Soul-os-ophy”, or cultural ways Black women have historically educated Black youth and the Black community for the upliftment of the whole, as discussed in each chapter, albeit in different contexts. This study is approached using interdependent levels of knowledge, Black Feminist Thought and Black Women’s Standpoint as espoused by Patricia Hill Collins, and similar scholars of Black feminist and womanist thought, particularly, the “process of rearticulating” Black women’s lived experiences.


Copyright Owner

Madison DeShay-Duncan



File Format


File Size

373 pages