Date of Award

Summer 8-4-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Counseling Psychology


Professional Psychology and Family Therapy


Pamela Foley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jason Reynolds (Taewon Choi), Ph.D.

Committee Member

Barbara A. Prempeh, Psy.D.


American Dream, Black American Millennial, Black Reality, Dream Deferred, African American Dream


The purpose of this qualitative study is to highlight and bring understanding to the lived experiences of Black American millennials. This study was conducted from the constructivist and critical research paradigms and utilized Reflexive Thematic Analysis methods to analyze qualitative data. The study places specific focus on Black or African American millennials’ associated thoughts and feelings regarding their current reality and positionality within the American context, and its relation to the idealized reality of the American Dream. The influence of the American Dream on the African American millennial reality was explored to gain a better understanding of how, or if awareness of disparities in the realization of American ideals affects their beliefs related to being American. Fifteen Black American millennials were asked questions related to their perceptions of their reality in relation to American ideals like the American Dream. Participants discussed the impact that their American reality had on their sense of being American, sense of alignment with American culture, attitudes to the U.S. and being American, and belief in their ability to achieve the American Dream (Armstrong, 2019; Carter & Perez, 2016; Flanagan et al., 2009). The patterns of shared meaning that emerged from the findings were: (1) Black millennials identify themselves as a pivotal generation, (2) the American Dream is a White myth, (3) “unalienable rights” are not applied equally amongst Americans, (4) the American Dream highlights disparities in American reality, (5) Black millennials are reckoning with internal conflict towards their American reality. Clinical implications and future areas of research are discussed.