Date of Award

Summer July 2015

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Magaly C. Lavadenz

Second Advisor

Antonia Darder

Third Advisor

Ruth Nicole Brown


Late-adolescent African American students face unique difficulties on their journey to womanhood. As members of a double minority (i.e., African American and female) (Jean & Feagin, 1998), certain limiting stereotypes relevant to both race and gender pose challenges to these students. They must overcome these challenges in order to excel within the various and changing environments they move through on a daily basis (hooks, 1981, 1994). Within the context of social justice, this dissertation provides insight into the role that language and literacy practices play to help enable the positive and affirming development of self-hood of African American college freshmen. This research is qualitative and employs critical narrative inquiry to analyze data collected from six academically high-achieving African American female freshmen college students attending Ivy League, Historically Black Colleges, and private and state universities in the United States.