Angela D. Mack, Ph.D. has been recognized as the university-wide spring 2023 Dissertation Award recipient. Her dissertation “Black Storytelling in Southside Funky Town, Texas: From the 76104 Zip Code to the Life and Legacy Work of Atatiana Carr-Jefferson as a Mattering of Black Life” is rooted in correcting negative narratives about her community while recalibrating Atatiana’s public memory from victimhood to the dignity of her personhood. Mack is the third Black woman to graduate from the English Department with a Ph.D. and the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in her specific discipline in TCU’s 150-year history.
“My dissertation pushes against every genre convention; every language expectation; every boundary of what Black-centered rhetoric and composition scholarship should look like, sound like, read like, be like; and how it should exist,” said Mack. “For TCU to recognize the merit of my work, a work that doesn’t shy away from truth nor critique and is deeply rooted in the celebration and care for part of the Black lived experience in Fort Worth … the significance of winning this award is not lost on me.”
Black Storytelling in Southside Funky Town is a multimedia project that centers on the historic and predominately Black communities of the 76104 zip code in Fort Worth. The project also amplifies the ongoing commemoration of Atatiana Carr-Jefferson, a resident of 76104 who was killed inside her home by an on-duty Fort Worth police officer responding to a welfare check in 2019. Black Storytelling is a culturally embedded practice of telling the story of the African American lived experience that shows the full range of life found in Blackness and within Black people. Mack’s project includes videos, photo albums, artistic expressions, poetry, commentary and stories that can be found in the text and online. It serves notice that all Black life matters in Funky Town, including Mack’s own.
“I am honored and incredibly thankful for my dissertation being acknowledged in this way and in this time,” said Mack. “I thank my committee, my storytellers, those who helped me to obtain the material for this project and my support system through colleagues and family. I especially thank Ashley Carr, Atatiana Carr-Jefferson’s sister. None of this would have been possible without her.”
About Angela D. Mack, Ph.D.
Fresh off of walking the stage with her Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition, Dr. Mack’s recent accomplishments include being named a 2023 Modern Languages Association Public Humanities Incubator Member; a winner of the 2023 Conference on College Composition & Communication’s Scholars for the Dream Travel Award; and winner of the Tate Prize in Composition Studies in TCU’s English Department.