CCH Scholarship Program graduate Mahalia Crawford successfully defends master’s thesis

We are proud to share that 2018 CCH Scholarship Program graduate Mahalia Crawford successfully defended her master’s thesis titled “No Time to Grieve: Mothers of the Movement and the Media” last November. She is pursuing a PhD in sociology, with a focus on race and crime, at Louisiana State University. 

Mahalia graduated magna cum laude from Tougaloo College with a BA in Sociology. She was awarded a $2,500 CCH college scholarship annually throughout her undergraduate studies, and continues to receive a $500 yearly stipend for academic materials through the program. 

“Coming from an HBCU, that’s where I really got my interest in sociology,” Mahalia said of her time at Tougaloo. “But also just growing up in Chicago and the things I had to deal with and see. Growing up around so much gun violence during my upbringing was really what drew me to sociology.”

Her thesis presents qualitative research on the portrayals of Black mothers who have lost their sons to gun violence. Analyzing media representations of the mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Jordan Davis, Mahalia found several themes present in the media coverage, including criminalization of the mothers, and systematically misquoting or mischaracterizing what they said or did, among other themes. 

After the pandemic hit in March, Mahalia had to revise her research methods, halting in-person interviews. Like many universities, LSU transitioned to remote learning. Two semesters of Zoom instruction have posed additional challenges for Mahalia. 

“Working through a pandemic was and is extremely challenging, but I pushed myself to successfully write and defend my thesis,” she said.

Mahalia will build on her research as she looks toward her dissertation, hoping to incorporate in-person interviews. She plans to graduate in late 2023 or early 2024. 

The CCH Scholarship Program provides $3,500 renewable scholarships to students who succeeded in school despite coping personally with homelessness. Graduating seniors from Chicago and suburban high schools are eligible to apply, as well as DREAMers, CCH youth leaders, and former CCH legal aid clients younger than age 24. At least five new winners will be selected this spring. Applications are due April 30. Learn more and apply here.