Date of Award



Julie Kim

Second Advisor

Oneka LaBennett


The main objective of the research project is to assess how Black cultural clubs in high schools influence the identity formation of the club members in terms of their conceptualization of race, analysis of race relations, and understanding for racialized experiences. This project specifically focuses on organizations such as the Black Ladies’Association that operates within a private all girls high school in the Washington, DC area. I interviewed past BLA members to collect their reflections on their experiences at their private predominately white high school. Their stories demonstrated how their club involvement enhanced their interactions with family, friends, and the larger community, and generally increased their awareness surrounding elements of identity. The past BLA members were asked to contemplate their experiences and share their opinions regarding the overall purpose, function, and impact of the club. In this manner, the project will elucidate the ways that BLA students navigated and processed these experiences after they graduated from high school, as well as, assessing how club involvement aided their personal development, racial identity formation, and ability to negotiate situations that had racial dynamics at play. Finally, by gathering past members' life-histories, I aim to uncover the influence of Black cultural clubs within a predominately white cultural context, and plausibly reveal ways in which these clubs can successfully operate within other high schools. For the purposes of this project, all the statements from past BLA members are direct quotes, but the names of the interview subject as well as the student organization have been changed to uphold the members’ and the club’s anonymity.