This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Brick by Brick: A Narrative Account of Black Undergraduate Men Thriving at Historically White Institutions




Kirk, Jeremy

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


Black labor at historically white institutions is commonplace without reward. The overwhelming majority of this labor is coming from Black male students who are associated into spaces where they must act on behalf of a school that is not meeting their wants/needs. With new diversity and inclusion measures at majority white institutions, these schools are looking to Black students to find their own way, while repeatedly asking them to serve the institution. This study turns the onus back on the schools who welcomed and invited these Black students into their ranks. The experiences of these participants are not linear or monolithic, but all tell the story of how Black men continue to destroy all ignoble impulses levied against them. This study takes place during sweeping legislation of banning diversity, equity, and inclusion across southern states and affirmative action case before The Supreme Court. The purpose of this study is to highlight historically white institutions’ desire for Black men without institutional inclusion. The experiences of Black men engulfed in a white-dominated society speaks to the intentional exclusion of Black male voices while continuing to benefit from Black male labor. Understanding anti-Black spaces will serve as a lynchpin to this study as it is the foundation from which every experience is expressed. This sample will take place at five public, four-year, historically white institutions, all of which are land-grant or flagship in the South. This is a qualitative study using narrative inquiry through interviews. The results of this study will be used to make recommendations for student and academic affairs for Black undergraduate men at those institutions and similar institution types.