Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Learning, Leadership and Change

First Advisor

Martin Martinez

First Committee Member

Rod P. Githens

Second Committee Member

Aja C. Holmes


Using a youth-led participatory action inquiry and photovoice methodology, this study investigated the self-perceptions of Black girls in a suburban area of Northern California. The objective of the project was to explore the perspectives and lives of Black girls. It is through gained insight from their lived experiences that we can come to understand their needs and develop approaches to advance their own holistic empowerment. By gathering self-perceptions of Black girls using photovoice, the project aimed to inform youth workers, educators, and youth-serving organizations such as Magic Black Girls Leadership Institute (MBG) on how to meet the needs and cultivate developmental assets among Black girls. Magic Black Girls was conceived to empower young, Black women to create their own space to grow, become personally aware of their own worth, and stand in their own power. The findings of this study indicate a need for positive counterspaces in which Black girls can generate a counter narrative, gain cultural awareness, experience a sense of community, experience joy, and build skills of activist leadership. The developmental tasks of adolescence for Black young people are complicated by the added context of oppression and racial discrimination which makes it essential to recognize and take action to create supportive environment that nurtures the positive development of Black girls. Further, the findings of this study contended that the use of innovative, holistic youth empowerment strategies are essential in the formation of spaces dedicated to encouraging, enlightening and empowering of young Black girls.





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