Is higher-education success attainable for a black woman who lives and learns in the margins; in what way is academic success and failure measured and defined and by whom? This research examines these questions through unraveling the educational narrative of Charlene, a marginalized, urban black female moving through a predominantly white, four-year public college. Through analyzing Charlene's story, this research argues that American higher education functions as a dominating matrix that systematically reproduces societal structures of inequality rooted in identity and place. Charlene's home-to-school discourse interrogates this educational dynamic, exposing how race, class, and gender oppressions intersect and undermine opportunities for academic progress. The research findings urge academia to transform its institutional ideologies, pedagogies, and practices in ways that stop the marginalization of black females who are relegated to live and learn on "the outside end."

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