Mia Brantley

Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Andrea K. Henderson


This dissertation explores the distinct practices Black women implement to protect their children from both actualized and anticipatory experiences of racism, as well as its effects on their mothering experiences, health and well-being, as well as how they manage the emotional and mental toll of their children’s experiences. Race plays an integral role in shaping mothering practices. More specifically, motherwork examines how Black mothers ensure the physical, mental, and emotional survival of their children in the face of micro-and macro-level structures that perpetuate racism and inequality. However, much is left to explore regarding the interconnectedness between Black women’s motherwork, linked lives, and Black maternal health. Following a three-article format, analyzing qualitative semi-structured interviews with thirty-two Black mothers around their children’s experiences of racism, my dissertation explores three overarching questions: (1) How do Black women engage in motherwork around their children’s experiences of racism? (2) How do children’s experiences of racism impact Black maternal health and well-being? (3) What coping strategies are Black women utilizing in the wake of their children’s experiences? In these articles, I build on existing sociological research surrounding racial socialization of Black children, gender, race and racism, health, and family to highlight the insidiousness and multifaceted nature of racism and its impact on Black families, specifically Black maternal health and well-being. Additionally, I expound on the impact that racism has on parent-child relationships, which highlights the impact of multiple forms of racism on Black women, expanding sociological understandings of the negative implications of racism beyond direct interpersonal experiences.

Included in

Sociology Commons