African American Grief  book cover
1st Edition

African American Grief

ISBN 9780367764159
Published August 12, 2021 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. The classic edition includes a new preface from the authors reflecting on their work and on the changes in society and the field since the book’s initial publication.

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

Series Editor's Foreword Preface to Classic Edition. Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Grief and Life Span 2. Racism as a Cause of Death 3. Racism and Discrimination in the Life of the Deceased 4. Visitations, Wakes, and Funerals 5. African American Institutions for Dealing with Death 6. How People Talked about Grief 7. Grief Soon after the Death 8. Meaning Making 9. Grief Over the Long Run 10. The Family Grief Process 11. God 12. Being Strong in Grief 13. Continuing Contact with the Deceased 14. Talking about It, Crying about It with Others 15. Our Grief and Theirs: African Americans Compare Their Grief with Euro-American Grief 16. Understanding African American Grief. Appendix

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Paul C. Rosenblatt, Ph.D., is an emeritus professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Rosenblatt is a fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and is the recipient of numerous teaching and research awards and distinctions. He currently sits on the editorial boards of Death Studies, the Journal of Loss and Trauma, Mortality, the Journal of Comparative Family Studies, and the Journal of Marriage and Family. He is author or coauthor of 14 books, including The Impact of Racism on African American Families, Grief and Mourning in Cross-Cultural Perspective, and Multiracial Couples: Black and White Voices.

Beverly R. Wallace, M.Ed., M.Div., Ph.D., is an associate professor of congregational and community care at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has been teaching courses on grief and loss for more than a decade at seminaries around the country. She has experience as a chaplain and pastor at a number of institutions and is the codeveloper of the End-of-Life Inclusion Project. Beverly Wallace is herself African American and interviewed all 26 of the people discussed in this 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