Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


Wearing the Mantle: Spirited Black Male Servant Leaders Reflect on Their Leadership Journey

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Judy Alston


The purpose of this dissertation was to explore, understand, and profile the leadership experiences of Black male leaders residing in Northwest Ohio. The guiding question was “In what way do the racialized and spiritual experiences of Black men influence their leadership?” This study was an exploration of how these men navigated through personal and professional obstacles by relying heavily on spiritual relationships with others and/or a higher power as they lead through service. Portraiture was the biographical method utilized in this study. Portraiture is a qualitative method that blends art, science, and social critique with intent of storying as well as learning from the lives of the Black men in this study. Leadership is the influential relationship among leaders and followers directed through the communication process toward the attainment of goals by influencing through vision, values, and relationships. In this study, these men illustrate their leadership by employing spirituality, servant hood, and their identity as Black men. I presented in depth portraits that expand and illustrate elements of the conceptual framework. This study contributes to the understanding of leadership experiences from a Black male perspective. The overarching themes in this study were: (a) spirituality, (b) servant leadership, and (c) Black identity. The data illustrate these themes in addition to a reconfiguration and combination of the themes that produce what I have coined critical servant leadership. As critical servant leaders, these men merge spirituality, servant leadership, and Black identity into a visionary, empowering, prophetic soul force in an effort to lead and benefit those in their communities whose voice is muted. Lastly, this dissertation provides a framework and serves as a catalyst for future studies on leadership.