Identity development models for Black males are limited, particularly within the context of higher education. Within this qualitative study, we used constructivist grounded theory to develop a theory of Black male identity development at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). We were guided by the following research questions: (1) How do the experiences at a historically Black college or university influence the identity development for Black males? (2) What externalfactors influence identity development for Black males who attend a historically Black college or university? Eight Black males participated in this study, each completing series of semistructured interviews. Derived from the interviews, a four-phase identity development theory emerged. The four phases of Black male identity development at HBCUs are: (1) acknowledgment of Black male identity, (2) understanding of differences among Black males, (3) creation of professional identity, and (4) transition into Black male role model. Our theory highlights how HBCUs offer unique spaces for Black male identity development that continues through adulthood. We close with recommendations for practice and future research.


Black males, constructivist grounded theory, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, identity development

Author Bio(s)

Therron “T. Jai” Rogers, Ph.D., is the student support services manager at Rush Medical College in Chicago, IL. therron_rogers@rush.com

Donald “DJ” Mitchell, Jr., Ph.D., CDE®, is vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Molloy University in Rockville Centre, NY. dmitchell1@molloy.edu

Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Therron Rogers, Medical Student Affairs, Rush Medical College, 600 S. Paulina St., Chicago, IL 60612. Email: therron_rogers@rush.com

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