Resources to Support African American Students

Josh Duke

By Dr. Erik Hines and Mia Hines

School counselors are in a position to change the narrative and trajectory of African American students. Too often, deficits are highlighted more than strengths, assuming the worst of African American students rather than expecting the best. African American students are overrepresented in special education (Gordon, 2017); yet, underrepresented in gifted education, advanced placement courses, and International Baccalaureate programs (Wright, Ford, & Young, 2017). Moreover, African American students tend to be suspended at higher rates than their other racial peers (Towsend, 2000). Similarly, they experience bias in the classroom via low teacher expectations. Bias and racism play a significant role in how African American students successfully matriculate through the educational pipeline, especially African American males (Grace & Nelson, 2018; Ford & Moore, 2013; Hines et al., 2020; Staats, 2016). However, school counselors can contribute to the success of African American students by engaging in culturally responsive pedagogy. Moreover, the narrative must focus on a strengths-based approach to working with African American students and examining beliefs and bias that could help or hinder this population.

School counselors and educators must focus on the accomplishments achieved by African Americans. For example, Florida State University has a few notable African American Alumni who have achieved monumental success such as Janice Huff, chief meteorologist at WNBC in New York City and Myron Rolle, Rhodes Scholar, Former FSU Football Player, and neurosurgeon at Harvard Medical School. School counselors have a tremendous influence in shaping the college and career trajectory of African American students and can use the aforementioned examples to highlight the achievement and infused this paradigm in their cultural competency tool kit. Through advocating, using counseling skills in individual and group settings, and using a systemic approach to address inequities, school counselors can improve the outcomes and change the narrative of African American students.

Below is a list of resources school counselors can utilize to support African American students in the areas of academic achievement, social/emotional development, college and career readiness, and cultural responsiveness. This resources list is not exhaustive, but it is a starter for school counselors to understand how to support African American students. Finally, we have resources for parents and how school counselors can support African American males.


Resources for Supporting African American Students


  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood and the Rest of Yall Too:Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher Emdin
  • Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • African American Students in Urban Schools: Critical Issues and Solutions for Achievement by James L. Moore, III and Chance W. Lewis
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research and Practice by Geneva Gay


Documentaries, Movies and TV Shows:

  • 13th by Ava Duvernay
  • Lean on Me
  • A Different World
  • Black-ish
  • When they See Us by Ava Duvernay
  • The Hate U Give
  • Get Out


Resources for School Counselors for Discussing Race & Equity with Students

National Museum of African American Culture & History Talking About Race Portal


Restorative Justice Practices to reduce or eliminate harsh discipline practices such as in and out of school suspension


Please, I can’t Breathe: How School Counselors After Social Racial Events by Derek Francis


This Is Not A Fire Drill: Derek Francis Shares His Playbook For Supporting Students After George Floyd's Murder

The 1619 Project

The New York Times aims to reframe the United States history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans.


Parent Resources to Talk about Race and Racism

African American Student's College Guide: Your One-Stop Resource for Choosing the Right College, Getting in, and Paying the Bill by Issac Black


Black Families Guide for talking about Racism


White Families Guide for talking about Racism

Your Kids Aren’t too Young to Talk about Race: Resource Roundup


Resources on Understanding Black Boys and Men



References Used in this Article (pdf)