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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Afro-American Studies

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Dania Francis

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Africana Studies | African History | Education | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


The racial academic achievement gap between Black students and other students is one of the most pressing education-policy challenges faced by the United States. This gap refers to the disparities in standardized test scores between these groups of students. Decades ago, Fordham and Ogbu’s theory about the “burden of acting White” was one of the most cited studies indicating the causes of this achievement gap. This theory indicates that Black students who do not perform well academically, do not want to achieve success at school because it is considered as acting White. However, this is an old way of thinking that has been largely discredited because a growing body of research, in which Gloria Ladson-Billings, Derrick Bell, Patricia Williams, and Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw are part, shows that this theory is not accurate because it does not take into account other social and educational factors that affect Black students. For that reason, through interviews, questionnaires, and document revision, this dissertation research attempts to analyze how Black organizations teach Black students to deal with their familial, educational, and community issues in order to help them focus more on an excellent academic performance in their primary and secondary school classes to increase their chances of going to college.


Creative Commons License

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