Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education/Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Judith I. Gill

Second Advisor

Dwight E. Giles, Jr.

Third Advisor

Jerome W. Wright


Upon entering college, Black males must negotiate a system that assumes they are in need of academic remediation and are lacking in higher-order critical thinking skills (Washington, 1996; Brown II, 2002; Harper, 2012). The low enrollment levels of Black males in college and their disenchantment with their college experiences has increased the likelihood that they will not be in classrooms with a diverse student population and a climate where they could feel comfortable (NSSE, 2008; Harper, 2006A; Harper, 2012). Black males who have enrolled in college must shoulder the stresses that accompany perceptions and stereotypes on campus about who they are (Washington, 1996) and can expect to encounter racial microaggressions: the verbal, nonverbal, or visual insults directed at people of color (Solorzano, Ceja, & Yosso , 2002). I proposed that spirituality may provide Black males with the tools they need to succeed in college and mitigate the effects of racial microaggressions. The study explored the experiences of fifteen Black males who attended a community college to determine whether their spirituality impacted their responses to racial microaggressions. Definitions of spirituality were examined to find an appropriate construct for use in this research. The conceptual frameworks that guided this research focused on racial microaggressions (Sue, 2011), spirituality (Astin, Astin, & Lindholm, 2011; Delgado, 2005; Miller & Thoresen, 2003; Chatters, 1994), and Critical Race Theory (Solorzano, 2007; Collins, 1998; Ladson-Billings, 1998). The findings indicated that spirituality may have provided Black males who attended a community college with compassion, forgiveness, inner strength, and empathy when encountering racial microaggressions.