Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name




First Advisor

Dr. Phyllis Briggs-Emanuel


This study investigates the phenomenon of “passing” for white and its effects on individuals, who “pass” or attempt to “pass.” The effects of “passing” that the study examines are the loss of the historical identity and the constant trauma of the psyche. Furthermore, this study examines the importance of the spirit(soul) of the “passing” person in returning to the African American community. The study is based on the premise that in order to gain the economic stability, education, and true freedom that are enjoyed by white society, persons have to “pass.” Therefore, African Americans who can cross the color line risk their lives and their sanity in hopes of capturing the American Dream. However, over time, these persons realize that the price of “passing” is too high, and thus, return to the African American community via the spirit. Thus, this study concludes that although the person who “passes” relinquishes the history and suffers emotionally by way of the psyche, the spiritual connection plays an integral role of restoring him/her to the African American community.