Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Pan-African Studies

Degree Program

Pan-African Studies, MA

Committee Chair

Rajack-Talley, Theresa

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Best, Latrica

Committee Member

Best, Latrica

Committee Member

Story, Kaila

Author's Keywords

African American grandmothers; black feminist perspective; black matriarch; black family; strong black woman


This study examined historical and contemporary roles of African American grandmothers within the familial system, and their socio-psychological experiences. The primary method of data collection was semi-structured, conversational style interviews with an oral history aspect. There were six grandmothers interviewed, two from the midwest region of the United States, and four from the southern region. The findings reveal stories that corroborate with the literature on the role of women in African American families and that of the Black matriarch, considering their strength are not inherent but necessary. They are not born matriarchs or strong black women, they become that person within the black family structure and circumstances. Key findings suggest that the roles and responsibilities of the grandmothers were similar to that of their own mother and grandmothers, as well as some of the historical roles that black women played in white and black families.