Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Beth Harry

Second Committee Member

Batya Elbaum

Third Committee Member

Wendy Cavendish

Fourth Committee Member

Osamudia James


The purpose of this study was to explore some of the questions that arise as one probes the call for more Black men to enter the teaching profession, particularly as these questions relate to their racial and gendered identities. Further, the focus was on Black male special educators, as the literature demonstrated that there was very little research that captured the experiences of this group. To this end, the following research question was posed: What roles do race and gender play in the pedagogies of Black male special educators? Using intersectionality as a conceptual framework, this qualitative study included, 12 interviews and one focus group with 6 Black male secondary special educators who work in New York City public schools. Transcripts were analyzed by employing grounded theory methods and invoking the African-American oral tradition via narrative inquiry concepts. Several themes emerged which led to the construction of a theoretical statement which asserted that black male special educators were driven to enact social change using education as a platform to serve as transformational leaders. They did this by building on and transferring to their students a rich sociohistorical knowledge base in order to empower minoritized students to rise above the oppressive circumstances they often face both in schools and in society at large. Results from this study have implications for research, policy and practice for recruitment and retention of minoritized male teachers as well as urban teacher preparation.


Black male teachers; special education; teacher diversity; urban teacher preparation; intersectionality; identity responsive practices