Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2021

Document Type


First Advisor

Bobbie Jo Kite

Second Advisor

Deborah McCaw

Third Advisor

Martreece Watson


The development of a positive relationship with one’s intersectional identity is influenced heavily by environmental factors. Black deaf students have birthright connections to both the Black and deaf communities which needs to be fostered appropriately. This study examines the impact of hearing mainstream and residential deaf schools on Black deaf students identity development. Mainstream environments typically have small, if any, concentrations of deaf students, reducing the likelihood of having interactions with the deaf community. Residential deaf schools, on the other hand, have high concentrations of deaf students and provide opportunities for growth within that community. Data shows that students in residential schools are increasing in ethnic diversity while the teaching field is still disproportionately white. For the purpose of this study, five Black deaf students from Gallaudet University were interviewed to provide their thoughts and lived experiences as students with intersectional identities. Many themes became apparent during data analysis including lack of Black/Black deaf role models, microaggressions, elitism, and lack of representation on campus and in the curriculum. The results emphasize the need for more Black and Black deaf K-12 educators with a true understanding of their role as cultural role models.



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