This qualitative phenomenological study explores the perspectives of Black adolescent males in an in-school mentoring program. There are predictable data in education that consistently show that Black males have the lowest graduation rates and the highest behavior suspensions. The purpose of this study was to explore whether a mentoring program containing all the essential components was a successful intervention to help Black males succeed in education.

The study affirmed that a mentoring program led by a strong Black male mentor fostered a fraternal brotherhood, taught academic and social skills, and kept Black males engaged and successful in middle and high school. Using critical race theory (CRT) as a framework, the tenet of the unique voice of color gave voice to the Black males in the study to share their lived experience about what middle school and high school felt like for a Black male. Also, using the CRT tenet that racism is ordinary, this study explored the historical perspective of how the Black community has been viewed in society. Reviewing the film Birth of Nation, the desegregation of schools with Brown v. Board of Education, and the Moynihan report, systemic issues were discussed to highlight the issues Black males faced.

Cross’s nigrescence model and Helm’s Racial Identity Attitude Scale (RIAS) provided insight into the participants’ mindsets while in the mentoring program. Interviews provided evidence of what it means to be Black in America and how the gentlemen learned how to navigate toward success in a world that feels like a heavy burden to them. Each of the participants found the mentoring program to be successful.


Natalie Rasmussen

Committee Member

Melissa Krull

Committee Member

Timothy Berry

Date of Degree




Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)

Program of Study

Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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