Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 8-2021


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Professional Doctorate in Educational Leadership (ProDEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Gretchen Givens Generett

Committee Member

Amy M. Olson

Committee Member

Launcelot I. Brown


Black studies, educational leadership, nonprofits, Black leaders, Code-switching, Qualitative, Narrative Inquiry


The current literature on Black nonprofit leaders is scarce, causing little to be known about the experiences that they have encountered when navigating their roles and responsibilities. Even less literature is available on these Black leaders and their usage of code-switching strategies when attempting to navigate those same nonprofits. Based on themes uncovered during the literature review this study employs an in-depth narrative inquiry qualitative methodology. While using theories such as critical race theory (Delgado & Stefancic, 200; Ladson-Billings,1998), the politics of respectability (Higginbotham, 1993) and the theory of capital (Bourdieu, 1985; 1996) the researcher examines the leadership experiences of four Black nonprofit leaders in Bridgertown, a predominantly White Mid-Atlantic city. Based on themes uncovered during the literature review and the researcher’s lived experiences, initial deductive codes for code-switching were used to analyze the interview data; linguistics, behavior and double-consciousness.

The primary findings of the data analysis suggested that code-switching was more than a matter of alternating linguistically, behaviorally, and consciously but rather a full embodying experience. Additionally, code-switching was not solely based on the act of alternation itself but also the why or reasoning behind that alternation. As a result, additional themes of code-switching were salient when studying Black leaders in this specific context: code-switching as inauthenticity, as survival, and as a means for advocacy. This dissertation not only plans to shed light on the experiences of these Black nonprofit leaders in Bridgertown but to also offer insights and implications for theory and practice.