Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Chair

Dr. Lilian H. Hill

Committee Chair Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 2

Dr. Thomas Lipscomb

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 3

Dr. Thomas O'Brien

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 4

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Abstract

African American women born into impoverished families often have difficulty moving beyond their low socioeconomic circumstances (Cozarelli, Wilkinson, & Tagler, 2001). Although education has been shown to influence the lives of African American women, limited research has been conducted relative to the influence of education in their transition from poverty. Also, while there is considerable evidence regarding the authoritative role of spirituality in the lives of women, and for African American women in particular (Mattis, 2002), little research has focused on how African American women utilized spirituality as a source of strength in response to the challenges of poverty. The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to examine the lived experiences of African American women who were born and reared in impoverished families; yet, these women have transitioned from poverty and function as successful adults. A phenomenological design allowed for a deeper investigation into the stories of 10 participants and provided a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of these women (Moustakas, 1994). Upon completion of face-to-face interviews with each of the study participants, data were analyzed and as a result, nine major themes emerged: (a) Setting Goals; (b) Support Systems; (c) Hard Work and Determination; (d) Opens Doors of Opportunity; (e) Never Give Up; (f) Having a Personal Relation with God/Jesus Christ; (g) Tithing and Giving; (h) Resilience within my own Culture; and (i) Church is Important.

ORCID ID

0000-0002-7312-2813

Available for download on Monday, May 11, 2020

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