Date of Conferral

2019

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Counselor Education and Supervision

Advisor

Jason L. Patton

Abstract

Equality in educational access has long been an area of concern for U.S. educators, policy makers, and advocates. Congress issued a mandate in 1969 to identify the needs of gifted students and to ensure that those needs were being met. However, the needs of gifted minority students were not specifically addressed. Little is known about how African American mothers are affected by the demands of raising and advocating for their gifted child. The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological qualitative inquiry was to explore the lived experiences of African American mothers raising gifted children. The theory of womanism was used to explore the experiential anecdotes offered by the participants and to guide in analysis of developing themes. In addition, critical race theory was used to further examine the narratives offered by the participant mothers. Nine African American mothers whose children were identified as academically and intellectually gifted participated in interviews; analysis of data included use of the hermeneutic circle and resulted in the identification of 4 essential themes and 8 subthemes. Subthemes, that seemed particularly meaningful to participants, included othermothering, exasperation, resilience, and the Black male experience. Findings highlight the mothers’ resilience when dealing with instances of microaggressions and microinsults. Additionally, findings elucidated their desire to see every child succeed through othermothering behaviors. Implications for positive social change include contributing to the body of knowledge regarding the needs and challenges affecting African American mothers raising gifted children.

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