“Free Black Children…That Means Everything”: Black Mother’s Visions of Freedom Within a Radical Healing Framework

Seanna Leath, Yolanda Williams, Taina Quiles, Bianka Charity Parker, Lauren Mims, Raven Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present qualitative study, we draw from a psychological framework of radical healing in communities of color to explore Black mother’s perspectives on what it means to raise free, Black children in the anti-Black racial context of the United States of America. Specifically, we consider the extent to which Black mother’s descriptions about supporting their children’s freedom involve new cultural and social norms that integrate personal wellness with collective social justice practices. We used consensual qualitative research methods to analyze semi-structured interview data from 31 Black mothers (28–50 years, M = 35, SD = 6.03) with children ranging from 6 months to 21 years old. We identified the following themes: promoting pro-Black critical consciousness, encouraging self-authentic expression through socioemotional support, and building strength and resistance through community care. Overall, we found that mothers viewed raising free, Black children as an inherent act of social justice, since they hoped to help their children learn to identify oppressive forces and engage in community-level efforts to promote social change and build a life-affirming future for themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-130
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Black Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Black children
  • Black mothers
  • critical consciousness
  • family processes
  • liberation psychology
  • radical healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Applied Psychology


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