The Black family: battered, bruised but unbowed
Slavery is a curse whose vestiges still remain
The Black family has been the object of numerous studies, research projects, but most importantly, is the cornerstone of Black human survival.
Speaking about African family values, Faye Z Belgrave, Ph.D., professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, says “marriage and family and children are really the hallmarks of this culture, because the union of a family represents so much symbolically …”
Further she pointed out that due to slavery’s divisive nature, many families were torn apart, thus initiating a new definition of family.
Belgrave, along with other noted scholars, agree that slavery has greatly affected the Black family, despite mainstream reports like “The Moynihan Report.”
Published by Sen. Daniel Moynihan in March 1965, the report “minimized (slavery as a social force,” and claimed that slavery “scarcely hurt families at all.”
However, Belgrave disagrees and points out that although Black families were able to sustain and feasibly function in the midst of immense oppression, slavery was devastating to African Americans and what it meant to be family in the Black community.
Thus, while the affects of slavery have yet to be massively addressed, African Americans continue to maintain as best possible, however with many challenges.
Single parent (mother headed) homes, one of those challenges, is a stigma that has over the years increased. Belgrave partially blames the incarceration rates.
But despite the negative aspects, strong leaders, and successful individuals and students have managed to flourish through it all.
“The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of it people”—Ashanti proverb
“To understand the Black family one must recognize the historical and socio-political environment of African Americans in this country beginning with enslavement and its devastating effect on the Black family. Current economic, political, social and health conditions continue to negatively impact the Black family.”—Faye Z. Belgrave, Ph.D.
When Beyoncé Knowles sang the Etta James song “At Last” at President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, the song could have had several meanings. At last, we have an African American president? At last, the muscle of the Black vote has been flexed? At last, there is some hope for our country to come together with the mantra “Yes We Can.”
The song always pops up when you least expect it.
There you are, minding your own business, you hear a few notes, and you’re pulled back to a wonderful-horrible time, starry dreams, laughter, bitterness, love lost. That old love song might be just a “precious melody,” but it almost brings you to your knees.
Civil rights activists and other community leaders called for hate crime charges on Monday against gang members suspected in attacks on an African American Compton family and threats against other Black residents.
The attacks sparked a rally at Compton City Hall after two men—reportedly from a Latino gang—were arrested for harassing and threatening a family to move out of the neighborhood because of their skin color.
YORBA LINDA, Calif.—A Black family of four, led by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy and Inglewood police officer, said they were chased out of Yorba Linda because of repeated acts of racism, prompting the Orange County Human Relations Commission today to pledge new outreach efforts to Blacks in the county.