Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Larry N. McNeal

Committee Member

Beverly E. Cross

Committee Member

Vivian G. Morris

Committee Member

E. Rene'e Sanders-Lawson


This study presented a qualitative analysis of selected events that resulted in the integration of the Nashville Public School System in 1957. In an effort to understand the participants' perception of their experience in the process of integrating the schools, the study provided a critical analysis of why a small group of African American parents, who were a subset of the original group of 126 eligible parents, opted to take advantage of the opportunities afforded them and thier children as a result of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. It utilized the theoretical framework of Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler (2005, revised) and Spencer's (1995) A Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST), as informed by Bronfenbrenner, to explore elements of parent involvement for these parents-relative to contemporary parent involvement-especially in urban schools. The three primary sources of evidence for this study were structured interviews, image elicitation, and document analysis; these were analyzed through the development of individual narrative cases for each participant, which resulted in a cross-case analysis narrative depicting the study's findings. The study's results indicated three dominant themes for the parents' motivations and expectations for their participation in the school integration process: the option to attend the school closest to their home; the notion of attending a school that offered better educational outcomes; and the belief that the process of integration was overdue, and the time and opportunity for change was present. Obeying the law emerged, but was not part of a prevailing theme. Further, evidence from these parents' involvement in the school suggested implications towards impacting student achievement. The study concluded that in the context of engaging in the desegregation process, parent involvement was critical to students' success and was fraught with the same issues in 1957 as parents face today in urban schools. This study provided insight into practices schools and communities can employ to engage parents today. It highlighted implications for parent involvement for parents, students, school practitioners and policymakers.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.