Black Identity Scholar Dr. William Cross Visits Texas A&M

Dr. William Cross at lecture

Written by: Heather Gillin (
Post date: October 15, 2018

The Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development hosted Black identity scholar Dr. William Cross Jr. at Texas A&M on Oct. 8.

Cross is a leading theorist and researcher of racial identity development and professor emeritus at the University of Denver. His most prominent contribution to the field is his Nigrescence Theory, which distinguishes the different stages of life as it relates to identity exploration and race.

Cross’ model eventually became the template for other models like Native American identity and Gay-Lesbian identity.

His book “Shades of Black: Diversity in African-American Identity” is a considered a classic among psychology and racial identity scholars. It dissolves the myth that self-hatred is a dominant theme in Black identity.

Cross said his motivations to write the book developed from his own struggle with identity.

“Writing the book was a personal experience before it evolved into a perspective,” Cross said. “I went through the stages that I describe in the book. Then once I discovered it was not just me, that entire groups of people were going through this struggle, I gained confidence to write about it.”

When asked how Texas A&M could implement his research and theories he said he recognized by the lecture’s large attendance that the university is already headed in the right direction.

“When an institution understands it has to get out of its own frame and get closer to the frame of reference to the population it wants to incorporate, there is a way in which it is a give and take.” Cross said. “I doubt that you could have this large of an audience of people of color without that being somewhat of a compliment to the administration.”

To learn more about Dr. William Cross Jr. visit