Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Candice Hargons

Second Advisor

Dr. Danelle Stevens-Watkins


The current study aimed to uncover processes and experiences that led individuals to critically engage in racial justice activism, specifically the Black Lives Matter movement. A constructivist grounded theory approach was utilized under critical-ideological and Black feminist paradigms in order to build a practical theory related to developing critical consciousness about oppression facing the Black community. Black activists in the movement between the ages of 23 and 60 (N=12) participated in intensive individual interviews. The result of the study is a co-constructed theory of racial justice activism development (the Critical Consciousness of Anti-Black Racism [CCABR] model) that can be used to increase psychopolitical wellness for Black people. In this model, developing CCABR started with witnessing ABR, required three interconnected methods of processing ABR to increase agency, and led to critical action against ABR. Results indicated that CCABR is a cyclical process through which each of the stages build upon and support one another. The CCABR model is discussed with respect to how it converges with, diverges from, and expands upon extant literature. Recommendations and implications associated with the CCABR model are delineated.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)