African American Grief  book cover
1st Edition

African American Grief

ISBN 9780203956526
Published August 21, 2013 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

African American Grief is a unique contribution to the field, both as a professional resource for counselors, therapists, social workers, clergy, and nurses, and as a reference volume for thanatologists, academics, and researchers. This work considers the potential effects of slavery, racism, and white ignorance and oppression on the African American experience and conception of death and grief in America. Based on interviews with 26 African-Americans who have faced the death of a significant person in their lives, the authors document, describe, and analyze key phenomena of the unique African-American experience of grief. The book combines moving narratives from the interviewees with sound research, analysis, and theoretical discussion of important issues in thanatology as well as topics such as the influence of the African-American church, gospel music, family grief, medical racism as a cause of death, and discrimination during life and after death.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Grief and Lifespan. Racism as a Cause of Death. Racism and Discrimination in the Life of the Deceased. Visitations, Wakes, and Funerals. African-American Institutions for Dealing with Death. How People Talked about Grief. Grief Soon After the Death. Meaning Making. Grief Over the Long Run. The Family Grief Process. God. Being Strong in Grief. Continuing Connection with the Deceased. Talking About it, Crying About it with Others. Our Grief and Theirs: African-Americans Compare Their Grief with Euro-American Grief. Understanding African-American Grief. Appendix. References.

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Paul C. Rosenblatt, Ph.D., is Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Rosenblatt is a Fellow of both the APA and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and the recipient of numerous other awards and distinctions. He currently sits on the editorial boards of several journals including Death Studies, the Journal of Loss and Trauma, and the Journal of Family and Economic Issues.

Beverly R. Wallace, M.Ed., M.Div., is currently a Research Assistant and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. She also serves as Interim Chaplain and Chaplain for Vocational Life at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and has experience as a Chaplain and Pastor at a number of institutions. Beverly Wallace is herself African-American, and she interviewed all 26 of the people discussed in the book


'Rosenblatt and Wallace provide an insightful portrait of racism and African American grief in America. This portrait does not simply start with the death of a loved one, but includes considerations of how racism frames and affects quality of life and the manner and rate of death for many African Americans. These moving, real-life stories also illustrate the role of faith for many African Americans in coping with racism and grief.' - Ronald K. Barrett, Professor of Psychology and African American Studies, Loyola Marymount University, USA