top of page

Creating Identity Safe Learning Environments for Black Boys in the Early Grades

Research in child development documents that a child's earliest years of life are vital to building a healthy foundation, not only in literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional development but also in how children identify (racial-identity) and think about themselves (racial/cultural pride). These developmental tasks are essential for all children. However, in schools and society in which Black boys are frequently portrayed as "bad boys," "troublemakers," and "problems to be fixed and managed," creating identity safe classroom spaces is essential. In this presentation, I share ways to foster healthy self-identity while cultivating voice and agency in Black boys in the early grades toward identity-safe classrooms. 

Download Available:



Brian L. Wright

Brian L. Wright, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor, Program Coordinator of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Instruction & Curriculum Leadership in the College of Education & Coordinator of the Middle School Cohort of the African American Male Academy at the University of Memphis. Dr. Wright teaches undergraduate- and graduate-level courses that include, but are not limited to, culture and learning, indigenous and decolonized philosophies/epistemologies, critical pedagogies, masculinities in urban schools. His research examines high-achieving African American boys in urban schools (P-12), racial-ethnic identity development of boys, STEM and African American boys (P-12), African American males as early childhood teachers, and teacher identity development. Dr. Wright has published articles in Urban Education, Theory Into Practice, and The Journal of Negro Education, to name a few. He has co-authored articles that have appeared in Young Children, Teaching Young Children, EXCHANGE, Childhood Explorer, Gifted Child Today, Handbook on Gifted Education, Psychology Forum, Journal of African American Males in Education, Boyhood Studies & others. Dr. Wright is the author of the award-winning (2018 NAME Philip C. Chinn Book Award), bestseller book, The Brilliance of Black Boys: Cultivating School Success in the Early Grades (2018 –publisher: Teachers College Press, Columbia University--

bottom of page