The extensive literature on Black academic underachievement has a very specific focus. The research looks either at the stresses and conditions of individual Black students in a racist society (see for example Fordham, 1988, 1993; Howard, 1985; Steele, 1992) or at the ways in which schools could be more effective for these students (Comer, 1988; Edmonds, 1979, 1986). On rare occasions, the exploration of this phenomenon turns itself on its head to examine Black excellence (Hilliard, 1995). Occasionally, researchers will also investigate the organizational dynamics of schools that combine to “create” academic achievement (notably Fine, 1990; Guinier, Fine, Balin, Bartow, & Stachel, 1993; Lightfoot, 1990; Mack, 1995).