Black Women Undergraduates


Black women
Black girls
Black women undergraduates
predominantly white institutions (PWI)
Critical Race Feminism

How to Cite

Allen-Handy, A., Farinde-Wu, A., Graham, D. and Johnson, J. W. (2021) “Black Women Undergraduates: A Phenomenological Examination of Their Lived Experiences and Identity Construction at Predominantly White Institutions”, Journal of African American Women and Girls in Education, 1(3), pp. 65–84. doi: 10.21423/jaawge-v1i3a69.


This disquisition is a phenomenological exploration of the lived experiences and identity construction of Black women undergraduates (BWU) at predominantly white institutions (PWIs). While recent literature has focused on Black women and graduate studies, this article’s explicit focus on BWU provides a needed perspective in the field, contributing to our growing understanding of the experiences of Black women at PWIs. The purpose of this study was to examine BWUs’ academic, social, and cultural lived experiences and the ways in which they constructed their identities within their respective PWIs environments. Situated upon a critical race feminist theoretical framework, data was collected through semi-structured interviews with seven participants.  Findings reveal that BWU engage in various degrees of negotiating contexts, managing subjectivities, and (re)defining identities while navigating their respective campuses. This study supports extant and emerging literature centered on the experiences of BWU at PWIs, and extends the field’s understanding of the intersection between their lived experiences and their identity construction while attending PWIs, specifically.  Our findings illuminate PWIs’ responsibility to transform systems and practices in order to foster positive academic and social experiences for BWU.