Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education


Disproportionate representation of Black male students in subjective areas of discipline has long been documented. Research indicates that racial disparities in discipline have been found with insufficient evidence to support that Black or other minority students are simply misbehaving more than others. Differences in cultural orientations between Black males and their predominantly White and female teachers have been linked to bias that disproportionality impacts discipline for these students. Through phenomenological inquiry, this study explored the schooling, professional, and mentoring experiences of successful Black men to better understand how schools and communities contribute to their resilience. This research sought to uncover ways in which Black men have experienced defiance and have used these experiences to positively influence their development and guidance to their young Black male mentees. Data from the pilot study exposed defiance as an integral component of participants’ lived experiences from boyhood to manhood. More importantly, data demonstrated that channeled constructively, Black males’ use of defiance through educational, professional, and leadership experiences, played an instrumental role in navigating their success in each of these domains. This study yielded insights that prove valuable in minimizing cultural misunderstandings that lead to punitive and exclusionary disciplinary action for subjectively, and often times, inappropriate referrals for classroom discipline. This information can prove instructive for schools and communities in developing practices that support the academic, social, and professional maturation of Black males.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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