Safe Space as Resistance for Black Women Student-Athletes

Tomika Ferguson – Virginia Commonwealth University

College athletes have increased participation in activism to combat racial injustice. Historically White institutions have been sites of marginalization and exclusion for Black women college athletes. This article interrogates how activism among Black women college athletes is an opportunity to disrupt oppressive higher education and athletic environments to create sustainable change. First, this article reviews literature that illustrates how Black women college athlete navigate higher education. Second, the article identifies how place, race, gender, and space within higher education exclude and limit Black women college athletes. Third, this article examines the intersection of activism and Black feminist thought within college athletics and posit that the creation of Sister Circles as safe spaces for Black women college athletes. Implications for practice suggest that the work of campus administrators and higher education institutions must move beyond diversity initiatives to promote inclusive practices that center Black women college athlete’s college experiences.