Term of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

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


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Paul M. Brinson

Committee Member 1

Linda Arthur

Committee Member 2

Sonya Gaither


“Of all the challenges in education today, I can think of none greater than the challenge of motivating, educating, and empowering black male learners” (Kafele, 2012, p. 67). Research documents the struggles of African American males in society and education. There is concern among educators for role models for young people to emulate (Lines, 2001). To explore President Obama as a role model and the impact of his historic election on African American recent high school male graduates, a qualitative research study was used. A phenomenological design helped described the “essence” of the phenomenon— the election of an African American president—from the perspectives of African American high school males.

Eight African American recent high school male graduates from a medium-sized school district in southeast Georgia participated in a semi-structured interview process. For anonymity, students used a pseudo name. The recorded interviews were transcribed and analyzed. From the data analysis,three recurring themes emerged: 1) All participants had heroes who were positive and often familial that remained relatively the same as they got older; 2) President Obama’s election changed the way they perceived themselves as well as how they perceived the way the world sees African American males; and 3) Most participants were positive about their futures and believed that President Obama’s election has increased their likelihood of success. Seven (7) out of (8) eight participants reported that the historical phenomenon had impacted their lives and described how they see a more positive outlook for their future success.