Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Thomasina Hassler


JaNae' Alfred

Phyllis Balcerzak

Shenita Mayes


African-American students have often faced systemic oppression and racial inequities as learners in the United States. Public schools in their communities lacked the resources to offer full access to a fair and equitable education. For years, human rights activists fought for radical changes in public schools. Finally, in 1954, the U. S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education ruled segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The Brown decision did not have the power to eliminate the long-established segregation practices. Nor did it grant access to educational equity for children of color. Dr. Samuel Shepard Jr. began his work in the Banneker District in 1956 as the Assistant Superintendent. His education model focused on creating programs that provided a fair chance to the Black children in the surrounding community. This research study examines Dr. Shepard's transformational leadership style while leading the Banneker District in St. Louis from 1956 to 1976 through a Critical Race Theory (CRT) lens of storytelling and a "critique of liberalism" theme. Also, this work aims to define his practice of enhancing the experiences for Black students beyond marginalization to upward mobility. This study uses an educational biographical approach to identify, isolate, and examine Dr. Shepard's leadership practices to make academic changes for African-American students living in extreme poverty in the Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project.

Available for download on Saturday, December 07, 2024