Academically Gifted African American Male College Students

By Fred A. Bonner II

The first-ever study of African American giftedness at the collegiate level, focusing on two extraordinary case studies.

Less than ten percent of the nation’s higher education studies in gifted programs focus on African American populations, and less than half of those studies focus on African American males. In addition, only two percent of the research analysis conducted on post-secondary gifted programs focuses on African American students and the factors contributing to their success.

At a time when so many studies of African American students focus on the factors of failure, Academically Gifted African American Male College Students fills a conspicuous void in the research literature on post-secondary education by focusing on success. Like no other work before it, this remarkable study goes deep inside the experiences of academically gifted African American men who successfully navigate their way through rigorous college-level programs.

At the heart of the unique and long overdue work are two real-life stories of African American male students: one at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and the other at a Traditionally White Institution (TWI). In presenting, comparing, and contrasting these two cases, the book identifies a number of personal characteristics and institutional approaches driving their notable achievements. The result is a guidebook both for gifted African American male students and for the institutions looking to strengthen their support for them—particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.


  • Presents two separate case studies revealing how academically gifted African American males experienced different higher education contexts—the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and Traditionally White Institution (TWI)
  • Includes interviews with both participants ten years after their college experiences
  • Offers six articles that provide a contemporary focus on issues impacting African American gifted males in school
  • Provides excerpts from journals, such as Gifted Child Today, Roeper Review, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of Race and Policy, and Journal for the Education of the Gifted


  • Offers the first ever, in-depth study of African American male giftedness in post-secondary education
  • Provides critical information for those who seek to enhance the opportunities for success among high-ability African American male populations?
  • Includes key information on structuring higher education environments that specifically lead to the success of African American males in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines
  • Shows how qualitative research can be used as a tool to reveal the authentic experiences among students in educational contexts
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