Factors contributing to African-American students' success at an historically Black college

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education

First Committee Member

E. John Kleinert - Committee Chair


Through narrative inquiry, this research identified the factors that led to the successful achievement of 17 African-American male students at a l16-year old historically black college. Although the study's primary thrust was to document the factors that lead to African-American students' success, the sample group also included 17 black male students who were born outside of the United States. This allowed for describing the distinguishing characteristics that emerged from each group, as well as documenting themes that were common to the two groups. It also allowed for establishing themes which unite the two groups. A second purpose of the study was to determine that positive role models for black male adolescents do exist. Factors that the study revealed about successful black male students were: (a) family as the most relevant factor in the students' lives; (b) religion as an important support system and bond; (c) the existence within them of a burning desire to achieve: (d) their selection of choices which are goal-oriented, for example, education; (e) evidence of their determination, hard work, coping skills and resilience; (f) a strong desire among them to serve as role models in the community, and (g) a desire on their part to "give back" and inspire younger black males to achieve."Nurturing" is at the center of the young African-American males ability to cope and to survive his obstacles, many of which are a part of his daily environment. A supportive environment-the family, the church, and the school--is necessary for success. This study showed that someone had to "care."


Black Studies; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies; Education, Higher

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