Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Benerd School of Education

First Advisor

Nancy Huante-Tzintzun, PhD

Second Advisor

Laura Hallberg, EdD

First Committee Member

Meagan O’Malley, PhD


The purpose of the current study was to help amplify and analyze Black American elementary student voice in a post-2020 world. Discussions and writings were conducted at the students’ charter school in spaces where students voiced what it meant to be a Black American youth through both verbal and written means. The current qualitative study focused on using discussions and creative writing to help participants make sense of their identity in their school, community, and the United States. This research provided students’ counternarratives regarding stereotypes associated with being Black American students and focused on how such spaces can positively impact Black American students. The current study used a narrative inquiry via youth participatory action research with critical race theory serving as its theoretical framework. Additionally, the current study also addressed development of critical consciousness as interpreted from a nigrescence framework. When discussing the Black American experience in predominantly White spaces, an analysis of themes revealed fourth- and fifth-grade Black American student participants felt personality mattered most when defining oneself as a Black American. Participants also discussed themes related to both racial battle fatigue and an awareness of how their Blackness in predominantly White spaces had been racially profiled and policed. Participants discussed the United States’ historically violent nature toward Black Americans, wanting to be representatives of representation in predominantly White careers, a desire for equitable treatment from White adults, and an appreciation for trusted adult allies. Through it all, participants noted a desire for changes in their communities and an overall appreciation for engaging in the work with one another also came forth. Findings suggested elementary-aged Black American students wish to work in community with one another and want to share information regarding their experiences to assist educators in cultivating more welcoming spaces in their school communities and beyond.





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