The purpose of this reflection is to expand the knowledge on the retention of early Black female faculty by exploring their challenges and triumphs in dismantling Whiteness and developing an authentic sense of belonging in the academy. In higher education, Black women experience marginalization at the intersection of anti-black racism and sexism. Faculty of color experience racial microaggressions, excessive workloads and service expectations, and their expertise is seldom recognized. Despite these challenges, marginalized faculty authentically persist and find a sense of belonging within the ivory tower by building mentorship relationships, departmental DEI efforts, opportunities for innovation, and cultivating Black sisterhood. This article details the experiences of two Black female speech-language pathology instructors, a third-year tenure track-academic faculty member, and a first-year clinical instructor, at a rural, Midwestern predominantly White institution. The instructor’s perspectives can be used to create culturally responsive programming for recruiting and retaining Black women in higher education.



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