Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Hayward Derrick Horton


One of the emerging issues in the sociological study of the black community is the phenomenon of black female leadership. The contribution of this dissertation to the discipline of sociology is to address the subject of black female leadership via the merging of three distinct bodies of literature: the sociology of leadership; black feminist thought; and black community development. Accordingly, this study has three components. In the first segment, the general literature on leadership is critiqued. The purpose of this segment is to articulate a need for a reconceptualization of leadership that is amenable to the analysis of the contemporary reality and experiences of black women. The second component explicates the culture of resistance and the history and nature of black women's leadership by examining their networks. This section demonstrates that even before the emancipation, black women played a critical role in providing for the needs and survival of the race. Finally, the last component elaborates on a community development model that highlights and advocates the significance, development, and promotion of black female leadership: the Black Organizational Autonomy (BOA) Model. The first sociological model of black community development, the BOA model is applied to a case study which demonstrates how black female leadership is essential to solving contemporary problems in black America. The study concludes with a discussion on the future of black female leadership.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Beverlyn Lundy Allen



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

139 pages