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The first year in the education professoriate is an ineluctably critical time to establish a pathway for long-term professional success mirroring a scholar’s commitment to positively influencing students, schools, and communities. For Black women, the distinguished dual marginalization that they endure based on race and gender creates challenges and opportunities during that important start to their career. Through Black feminist thought and portraiture’s intentional blurring of art, life, and scientific boundaries, two Black women tenure track faculty use their ‘pens as weapons’ to explicate the first-year professional experiences. They draw on their narratives and that of three other Black women education faculty. Findings include how Black women (a) navigate their first year outside of the safety of nurtured risk-taking in graduate school; (b) create peer accountability networks of support and mentoring to strategically plan for success; and (c) build self-efficacy by prioritizing self-care.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Race Ethnicity and Education in 2021, available online at It may differ slightly from the final version of record.

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Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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