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This Is Our Villages’ Degree: Reflections and Advice From Black First-Generation Doctoral Students

Breeden et al. / Journal of First-generation Student Success / December 2023


While less than 6% of Black or African Americans earned doctoral degrees in 2021, Black first-generation students are graduating from doctoral programs nationwide. Although facing a series of challenges, the authors are creating space in the academy where little exists. Amplifying the voices of three Black first-generation scholars, this article highlights the capital and support systems they used to navigate their journey to doctoral degrees in higher education. Using song titles, the authors provide reflections and advice for other first-generation scholars navigating doctoral education. Although their positionalities are varied across their minoritized identities and life experiences, the authors contend that their collective narratives can help Black, first-generation doctoral students across any discipline, along with researchers and professionals who wish to further understand the assets and supports needed for Black, first-generation students broadly, and Black first-generation doctoral students specifically.


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