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The Black family: battered, bruised but unbowed

Stan Thomas | 12/28/2011, 5 p.m.

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.

http://ourweekly.com/features/black-family-battered-bruised-unbowed