The Association for the Study of African American History and Life (ASAHL) has selected this annual theme to focus on the black family in America:
The black family has been a topic of study in many disciplines—history, literature, the visual arts and film studies, sociology, anthropology, and social policy. Its representation, identity, and diversity have been reverenced, stereotyped, and vilified from the days of slavery to our own time. The black family knows no single location, since family reunions and genetic-ancestry searches testify to the spread of family members across states, nations, and continents. Not only are individual black families diasporic, but Africa and the diaspora itself have been long portrayed as the black family at large.
While the role of the black family has been described by some as a microcosm of the entire race, its complexity as the “foundation” of African American life and history can be seen in numerous debates over how to represent its meaning and typicality from a historical perspective—as slave or free, as patriarchal or matriarchal/matrifocal, as single-headed or dual-headed household, as extended or nuclear, as fictive kin or blood lineage, as legal or common law, and as black or interracial, etc. Variation appears, as well, in discussions on the nature and impact of parenting, childhood, marriage, gender norms, sexuality, and incarceration. The family offers a rich tapestry of images for exploring the African American past and present.
Check out these links to learn more about historical and contemporary issues in the black family:
- Black Families, 4th Edition by Hariette Pipes McAdoo
- The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925, 1st Edition by Herbert Gutman
- The Chubbs: A Free Black Family's Journey from the Antebellum Era to the Mid-1900s by Clemmie Whatley
- The Strengths of Black Families, Second Edition by Robert Hill
- The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White by Henry Wiencek
- African American History & Devotions: Readings and Activities for Individuals, Families, and Communities by Teresa Fry Brown
- Black Family Reunions: Finding the Rest of Me by Iones Vargus
- Assimilation Blues: Black Families In White Communities, Who Succeeds And Why by Beverly Daniel Tatum
- Black Families in Therapy: Understanding the African American Experience, Second Edition by Nancy Boyd-Franklin
- Whole Brother: Debunking the Myths That Break the Black Family by Maliek Blade