College Access and African American Males: An Instrumental Case Study on the Impact of Postsecondary Educators and Educational Leaders on Secondary Students with Postsecondary Educational Aspirations

Kimberly L. Williams


This study examined the college access experiences of successful African American males. Postsecondary education is critical for economic and social stability; however, African American males from families with low socioeconomic status have been operating in educational systems that keeps them on the margins. Many African American males report strong postsecondary educational aspirations early in their educational careers, but they encounter microaggressions that leave them feeling like outsiders-within. This study examined African American males’ college access experiences as they successfully transitioned through the K-16 educational pipeline. Further, their experiences in their role (s) as postsecondary educators or postsecondary educational leaders working with African American males who also have postsecondary educational aspirations was examined.

Utilizing Critical Race Theory, Funds of Knowledge, Community Cultural Wealth, and Anti-Deficit/Pro-Asset Educational Achievement Framework, as the theoretical lenses, I considered historical and current research on the African American male educational experience, examined how educator’s low educational expectations can lead to the aspirations-achievement paradox, and explored the role of race-consciousness in postsecondary education access. This qualitative instrumental case study provided greater insights into this phenomenon and addressed gaps in the existing literature on the college access experiences of African American male postsecondary educators and educational leaders.