The purpose of this research effort was to examine Black male students' self-perceptions of academic ability and gifted potential in science. The purposeful sample consisted of nine Black males between the ages of 14 and 18 years. Four categories of self-perceptions of academic ability and gifted potential emerged from the data. These included: (a) gifted high achievers; (b) gifted “could do better” high achievers; (c) gifted “could do better” situational nonachievers; and (d) gifted “could do better” underachievers. Science teachers' influences that referenced participants' academic achievement pointed to validation. Participants' perceptions regarding how science teachers' influenced their academic performance focused on science teachers' content knowledge. Power dynamics germane to Black male participants' value or worth that directed their efforts in science learning environments are discussed. Implications are posited for science teaching, science education programs, and future research. This research endeavor was based on two premises. The first premise is that Black males' self-perceptions of academic ability affect their science academic achievement. The second premise is that, given parental, peer, and community influences, science teachers have considerable influence on students' self-perceptions of academic ability. However, the focus of this research was not on parental influences, peer influences, or any potential influences that participants' communities may have on their academic achievement. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 42: 888–911, 2005