Date of Award

Spring 6-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Horace Hall

Second Advisor

Crytsal Laura

Third Advisor

William Ayers


This research explores the life experiences of working class, Black single mothers who are raising their son(s) in contemporary urban America, a space that can present challenges for the Black male child such as; poverty, poor educational systems, lack of jobs, homicide, crime, gang activity, addiction, and just about every source imaginable that can lead to socio-economic insufficiency. The study will focus on five Black single mothers between the ages of 35-45 years of age who are raising son(s) between the ages of 10-18 years of age. The purpose of the study is to explore the meaning of single motherhood by the women themselves and how they navigate and negotiate everyday life while raising their sons. Motherwork was used as the methodology for this research. Motherwork provides the framework of understanding the phenomena and oppressive factors related to Black single mothers, in particular those who are rearing son(s). This study pays particular attention to (a) the meaning of motherhood, (b) the impact that being a single Black mother has taken on their lives, (c) the challenge of raising a Black male child in contemporary urban America and, (d) how these mothers respond to the challenges of rearing their sons on their own. The research was designed to give single Black mothers who are raising male children a platform to share their stories, which may otherwise go untold. In order to gain a deeper understanding of how Black moms navigate and negotiate everyday life with their sons, I believe it is imperative to gain personal accounts of their lived experiences and also understand the barriers, challenges, and cultural as well as societal factors that impact them on a daily basis. Through their personal stories, we can gain a holistic perspective on a Black family structure that is unique; yet often devalued, misunderstood, and often times negatively portrayed.