(Re)defining the Narrative: High-Achieving Nontraditional Black Male Undergraduates at a Historically Black College and University

Using Harper’s anti-deficit achievement framework as a theoretical guide, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to investigate the academic and social experiences of four nontraditional, high-achieving, Black male undergraduates attending one historically Black university. Findings show that the participants were intrinsically motivated to succeed in college to make a better future for themselves and their families. Support from their peers, family, and children also played a role in their success. Last, the university cultivated a campus environment that affirmed the participants’ identities as Black males and nontraditional students. These findings present a counternarrative to deficit-oriented research about Black males generally and nontraditional Black male collegians specifically.

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