Persistence as resistance: race, gender, and the experiences of Black women at minority-serving institutions

Although colleges and universities in the United States have seen an increase in the minority student population over the past forty years, African American women have experienced limited gains in accessibility since the general expansion of the higher education systems in the 1960s (Clewell & Anderson, 1992). While women have participated in higher education for more than a century, there is limited research focused on African American women college experiences (Moses, 1989; Collins, 2001). This study employs Critical Race Theory and Womanism to guide a qualitative examination of college experiences of African American women who have graduated or successfully persisted at a minority-serving institution (MSI) that is not classified as a historically Black college or university (HBCU). This study examines the factors that shaped their college experiences and overall retention in higher education. In particular, this study explores how race, gender, and institutional context impact African American women persistence at MSIs.