Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


African American women-Psychology, Group identity, Blacks-Race identity, Racism-United States, Well-being, Qualitative research, African American women, Collective identity, Racism


This qualitative study sought to explore African American women's understandings about collective identity in their lives and, specifically, in their encounters with racism that impacted their well-being. African American women hold rich traditions of healing that encompass their communities and are influenced by their early bonds of sisterhood. In the United States of America, these traditions of connectedness between Black folks have supported Black women, communities, and families against the pressures of racist domination. Ten self-identified African American women between the ages of 34 and 69 shared rich narratives about how they experienced a collective sense of self, racism, and well-being. This study's findings were identified as they relate to participants' lived experiences of and intersections between collective identity and the following: (a) racial pride and multiculturalism, (b) community as an important African American value that feels under threat, (c) protecting and proliferating Black female expression, (d) learning "racism at a distance," and (e) the effects of bearing witness.




iii, 94 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 73-79)