C. D. Williams

Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Johnson, Ane


English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers; High school students, Black


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


Linguistic imperialism and societal assumptions can become dominant issues that lessen the significance of the identity, language, culture, and communication of minorities in English as a second language (ESL) settings, which may hinder the possibilities of acceptance and success (Amin, 1997; Ibrahim, 1999; Morgan, 1997; Ogbu, 1992a). Students from Africa and West Indies, foreign-born Blacks, represent English language learners (ELLs) who have distinct cultural and linguistic mores that often go unnoticed. Foreign-born Blacks possess uncommon mother tongues and cultural behaviors that present struggles with salient entrenched racialization in ESL because the historical aspects of English are associated with Whiteness, dominance, and power (Amin 1997; Motha, 2006). The purpose of this study was to investigate the invisibility of foreign-born Blacks in a large, ethnically diverse, urban, secondary ESL context. Relevant aspects of Critical Race Theory (CRT) were applied to the unseen perspectives of racial, ethnic, and cultural conceptualizations in conjunction with language, culture, and teaching. Through this study, I sought to identify foreign-born Black students in ESL, authentically explore belief systems of teachers and students, examine current pedagogical views, address cultural competencies, and infuse culturally responsive practices. In this action research project, I used a qualitative research design and phenomenological methods. I emphasized the importance of cyclical action research to formerly assess and improve cultural responsiveness in ESL settings and proactively enhance the significance of underrepresented cultures in ESL. Findings from this research suggest that studied attention is required to heighten the awareness of foreign-born Blacks as English Language Learners.