1st Edition

Contemporary African American Families Achievements, Challenges, and Empowerment Strategies in the Twenty-First Century

    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    For decades the black community has been perceived, both in the United States and around the world, as one which thinks alike, acts alike and lives alike - in poor and downtrodden environments. Following the persistent effects of the great recession and the American elections of 2008, now more than ever the political and socio-economic state of America is crying out for this deficient and prejudiced conception to be dispelled.

    Focusing primarily on black families in America, Contemporary African American Families updates empirical research by addressing various aspects including family formation, schooling, health and parenting. Exploring a wide class spectrum among African American families, this text also modernizes and subverts much of the research resulting from Moynihan’s 1965 report, which arguably misunderstood the lived experiences of black people during the movement from slavery to freedom in a Jim Crow society.

    A timely subversion of the myth that America is successfully in a post-racial era, this new anthology on the Black Family in America will appeal to advanced undergraduate students and research scholars interested in black studies, Africana studies, women and gender studies, sociology, political science, anthropology, criminal justice, education, psychology, public policy, healthy policy and social work.

    Acknowledgments (Dorothy Smith-Ruiz)

    Foreword (Earl Smith)

    1. Introduction and Overview (Dorothy Smith-Ruiz)

    2. Collateral Damage: The Impact of the Incarceration of African American Men on the Mothers and Children they Leave Behind (Earl Smith and Angela J. Hattery)

    3. Examining Fatherhood within the Black Family (Jeffrey Shears and Joshua Kirven)

    4. Grandparents’ Caregiving during the Context of a Natural Disaster (Priscilla Gibson)

    5. Mental and Physical Health Disparities and Older African Americans (Martha Crowther, Cassandra D. Ford, and Latrice Vinson)

    6. The School-to-Postsecondary Pipeline: Proposing Proactive Measures for African American Youth’s Educational Success (Chance W. Lewis, Marcia Watson, Tonya J. Rose)

    7. Family Matters: The Role of Familial Support in the Success of African American Female STEM Majors (Roslyn Arlin Mickelson, Ashley Dawn Parker, Elizabeth Stearns, Melissa Dancey, and Stephanie Moller)

    8. Home is Where the Wealth is: African Americans and the Housing Debacle (Sherri Lawson Clark)

    9. Brew City Bellwether: The Changing Landscape of the Black Family in Milwaukee (Robert S. Smith and William I. Tchakirides)

    10. The At-Opportunity Policy Agenda: The Charlotte Region’s Black Families, Education, Economics, and Philanthropy (Patrick C. Graham)

    11. ‘You Must Learn’: How Racial & Ethnic Socialization Affirms Black Identity among Black Americans and West Indians (Anthony Greene)

    12. Black Families Today: The Genius of Dr. Charles Vert Willie. (Dorothy Smith-Ruiz)

    13. Epilogue: The Future of African American Families (Dorothy Smith-Ruiz)


    Dorothy Smith-Ruiz is Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

    Sherri Lawson Clark is Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    Marcia Watson is Assistant Professor of Elementary Education at Towson University in Baltimore County, Maryland.

    Contemporary African American Families, written in a style that would be accessible to undergraduates, provides an important supplement to the many texts and readers on African American families that focus primarily on within-family dynamics. By taking a look at various structural factors—education, incarceration, housing, and other public policies, this collection of articles delivers a structural framework and an essential social context within which to study today’s Black families.

    Dr. Roberta L. Coles, Professor of Sociology, Dept. of Social & Cultural Sciences, Marquette University, USA

    Contemporary African American Families is a truly comprehensive and compelling attempt to place "the Black family" in an analytically and politically robust social and conceptual context. It asks questions about what everything from mass incarceration and housing discrimination to Diasporic differences and health disparities mean for the everyday lives and macrostructural possibilities of African American family members—fathers, mothers, grandparents, and children. This book takes a traditional social scientific subject and drags it undeniably into the present. Clearly written, it will work well in classrooms and for more casual readers simply interested in learning more about the topic.

    John L. Jackson, Jr., author of Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity and Dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.