March 7, 2017

Black Families at the Crossroads : Challenges and Prospects by Leanor Boulin Johnson

By Leanor Boulin Johnson

This up-to-date variation of the vintage publication Black households on the Crossroads, bargains a complete exam of the various and intricate concerns surrounding Black households. Leanor Boulin Johnson and Robert Staples mix greater than sixty years of writing and examine on Black households to supply insights into the pre-slavery improvement of the Black center classification, inner strategies that impact all type strata between Black American households, the impression of race on glossy Black immigrant households, the interplay of exterior forces and inner norms at each one degree of the Black kinfolk existence cycle, and public regulations that supply demanding situations and promising customers for the ongoing resilience of the Black kin as an American establishment. This completely revised variation positive aspects new learn, together with empirical reviews and theoretical functions, and a evaluation of vital social polices and monetary adjustments long ago decade and their impression on Black households.

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The end of the slave trade also led to an increased emphasis on the domestic breeding of slaves, a task for which Black women bore primary responsibility (White, 1985). In addition, black women had the responsibilities of laboring in the fields and in the slave master’s house. This was the beginning of their dual oppression as breeding instruments and captive labor force. Although the Black man was formally stripped of virtually all paternal functions except the biological one, Black women hardly fared better.

These two forces supposedly led to the encouragement of manumission and stable marriage among free and slave Blacks (Patterson, 1982). Slaves lost their freedom but retained the right to regain it. In the United States, Blacks were consigned to a slave status from birth to grave (Elkins, 1968). The American slave system abrogated all rights the Africans had as human beings. Slaveholders could not be punished 7 8 BLACK FAMILIES AT THE CROSSROADS for the way they treated their slaves; families were broken up by the sale of one of their members; there was no legal marriage for slaves; the children of a slave mother were automatically slaves; and the status of a slave was a position from which no mobility was permitted (Patterson, 1982).

Thus, the official organ of the African Methodist Episcopal church exhorted Black families to teach their daughters not to avoid work, since many of them would marry men who would not make, on the average, more than seventy-five cents a day (Absug, 1971). By 1880, approximately three times as many 17 18 BLACK FAMILIES AT THE CROSSROADS Black women as White women were in the labor force (Goldin, 1983). What was important, then, was not whether the husband or wife worked, but the family’s will to survive in an era when Blacks were systematically deprived of educational and work opportunities.

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