Shooting for the Stars: A Case Study of the Mathematics Achievement and Career Attainment of an African American Male High School Student

The mathematics success of African American male adolescents has been given limited attention. Most often, African American males are viewed in terms of their failure as opposed to their success. This tendency to focus almost exclusively on African American failure is a debilitating feature of extant literature and it constrains our understanding of African American mathematics achievement. Malik Williams is one case that stands in opposition to the norm. Realizing the importance of advanced mathematics to his college and career goals, Malik petitioned his principal to have a Pre-Calculus/Calculus course offered at his school. This article documents the story of Malik's success and in so doing, identifies key themes that inform current understanding of the mathematics achievement and career attainment of African American male students.