Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Patricia Krueger-Henney

Second Advisor

Francine Menashy

Third Advisor

Kahris White-McLaughlin


This study examined Black mothers’ practices related to finding networks of support to advocate for educational opportunities for their Black sons in special education in an era of anti-Black racist education. Using a narrative qualitative research method, the author captured Black mothers’ voices as they told their stories about navigating anti-Black spaces to gain educational access for their sons. Using critical race theory and Yosso’s (2005) community-driven theory of cultural wealth, the author explored Black mothers’ approaches to finding resources and networks of support for their sons in special education. Yosso’s six forms of capital were used to analyze the participating mothers’ narratives as they described their sons’ experiences with their respective special education systems in urban public school settings and to determine the extent that exclusionary practices hindered their sons’ rights to quality educational services as mandated by the Individual with Disability Education Act. The study findings highlight Black mothers’ use of particular forms of cultural wealth to respond to special education’s failure in meeting the educational needs of their sons.


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