Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Education


College of Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Harper, Brian

Second Advisor

Galletta, Anne

Subject Headings

African Americans, Education, Gender


Concerns regarding teacher recruitment and teacher retention among African American teachers continue to illustrate the difficulty in diversifying the teacher population. At the same time, African American teachers currently working in urban schools must successfully find strategies to engage urban youth, who face inequitable educational opportunities. Such realities can be challenging to African American teachers, who have also experienced structural oppression, as they are expected to conform to the educational ideologies and strategies of dominant, white society. As such, the personal and professional experiences of African American teachers working within urban schools will not only influence their on-going identity, but will also influence his or her beliefs and teacher pedagogy. To this end, research must be employed that explores how specific experiences, context, and one’s racial/ethnic identity influences the on-going development of African American teacher identity.
This study explored the different experiences of African American teachers; specifically how biographical and professional experiences influenced the ongoing identity development, beliefs, and pedagogy of the African American teacher. To understand the experiences of African American teachers within this study, a narrative approach will be employed. Through narrative methodology, the various ways in which people context, and history influenced the development of identity, beliefs, and pedagogy are examined.
Findings revealed that participant’s experiences with navigating through oppressive educational institutions, is the material used to counter and disrupt institutional racism in the schools where they now teach. Additionally, participants utilized personal experiences and knowledge of their student’s culture and community, to influence their social and academic development. The identity, pedagogy, and beliefs of participants reflect ongoing development, as they continued to support their students and struggle to change the perceptions of white colleagues and urban students.

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