Semester of Graduation

Summer 2021


Master of Mass Communication (MMC)


Manship School of Mass Communication

Document Type



This study examines young African American adults’ usage of social media and other digital spaces as tools to build community given the rise in protest participation in North American (U. S.) society while at the height of a global health pandemic. Since early adulthood is a time where African Americans are most active online, this study will examine how and why those African Americans are turning to digital spaces to find social connections. Racism and racial injustice are two of the most pressing issues in the African American community, and it is clear that it can be an emotionally laborious process. Through Critical Race Theory and Uses and Gratifications Theory, this study examines the qualitative responses of 17 participants (12 women; 5 men) age 18-35 who share how and why they are using digital spaces. Twelve dominant themes arose as a result of the study, and collectively, they demonstrate that African American young adults are using digital spaces to form social connections, fulfill various needs, and develop community as a result of racial injustice.

Committee Chair

Harris, Tina M.