Date of Award

2019

Access Restriction

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education

Department

Education

School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Antonia Darder, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

William Parham, Ph.D., ABPP

Third Advisor

Venus Evans-Winters, MSW, LCSW, Ph.D.

Abstract

This dissertation examined the experiences of Black middle school girls who attend predominantly white, elite, independent schools in the Greater Los Angeles area. Using Critical Race Theory, Black Identity Theory, and Black Feminism Theory as a conceptual framework, this qualitative research explored the role of race, class, gender, and parental support as contributing factors to the development of participants’ racial consciousness. Utilizing timeline interviews and critical narratives to explore the lived histories of each student and parent participant, data analysis included content coding based on themes that emerged throughout the narrative examination. An analysis of the narratives of student participants revealed the absence of a Black faculty advocate, the burden of microaggressions, and the tension to define what it meant to be Black as important factors in the development of a racial consciousness. Additional findings based on data from the participants’ mothers revealed their reasons for choosing independent schools for their daughters and an emphasis on nurturing Black identity and friendships to help guide them through critical racial experiences. Findings led to important recommendations to improve the educational experiences of Black girls in predominantly white, elite independent schools. These findings also indicated a need for further study of the experiences of the Black girl middle school experience in predominantly white, elite, independent schools.

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