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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Delores McNair

First Committee Member

Shawnterra Moore

Second Committee Member

Joanna Royce-Davis


African American males are typically subjected to unbelievable barriers and negative trends, which include institutional racism, discrimination, multigenerational poverty, lack of education, chronic unemployment, and fatherlessness. These findings are rooted within historical contexts that paint a picture of American schooling filled with the denial of educational opportunities for African Americans. However, using a critical lens these descriptors are challenged and dispelled by critical educators, who examine the bleak historical and contemporary circumstances that African Americans and other communities of color experience as a result of structural inequality perpetuated by white-dominated systems of power. In this study, the framework of Critical Race Theory is used to make sense of how race and racism shape the experiences of historically oppressed people, and to tell the story of eight African American high school males in a Northern California city, who describe factors that contributed to their failure and success as high school graduates, and how these experiences shape their college pursuits. This study uses the methodology of hermeneutic phenomenology as a tool to focus on the voices of African American male students in an effort to centralize these voices. This ensures that educators are not speaking for these students, but rather are listening to their stories.





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