Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Family Science and Human Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jennifer Urban

Committee Member

Kathryn Herr

Committee Member

Bradley van-Eeden-Moorefield

Committee Member

Michael Hannon


Life course theory’s (Elder, 1998) principles of linked lives and historical time and place can be used to understand how attitudes, values, and behaviors are passed down across generations amid the historical context of Black families in the United States. This dissertation used autoethnography to explore the construction and transmission of egalitarianism, allowing the researcher to be both participant and analyst. Qualitative data consisted of critical reflections and 17 individual oral history interviews with family members across four generations. Procedures outlined in Gilligan’s Listening Guide were used to analyze data, resulting in pronoun-poems for each interviewee and generation. Individual voices and generational experiences are highlighted in poems. Data were analyzed within and across individuals to identify generational constructions of egalitarianism, including how these constructs were adapted as they transferred from generation to generation amid varying societal contexts. This study produced three major themes: parental socialization, partnering socialization, and intersectional socialization. Findings from this study suggest that Black families share responsibilities to achieve the common good, with respect and attention to the needs of individual family members.

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