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The African American Family Philosophy


Read the instruction carefully and post your assignment on the day given in the drop box. Your answer should be based on the three theories given here; you should also use the US Bureau of census for your analysis; it is attached here under “The US Bureau of Census.” Your essay should be 2-3 pages long.

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Assignment 1:

For the hundred-year period between the end of slavery and the aftermath of World War II the strucutre of African American family was characterized by a remarkable degree of stablity. According to the US Bureau of Census, the African American family with children were 80% in 1890 . However, this figure progressively declined since the 1960’s and by the 1990’s it was only 39% and this trend is likely to continue. As a preliminary discussion to the problem, analyze the theories of Fraizer, Moynihan and Gutman[use the theories given in the discussion column]. You may refer to their published books. Fraizer,s book on the Black Family; Moynihan’s report to the US Congress 1965; Gutman’s book on the Family, 1976. In addition to your anaysis of these theories, identify the major causes for the decline of the family since the 60’s. Due date September 10, 2016

Background: Only 33% of adult African American family currently married or have a stable family. Sociological research and theories on black family are many; however, the first person who theorized about the structure of black family was E. Franklin Frazier. As student of social ecology at the university Chicago, Frazier theorized that black family as the culmination of an evolutionary process-its structure strongly affected by the vestiges of slavery and economic exploitation. The institution of enslavement and slavery virtually destroyed the cultural moorings of blacks and prevented any perpetuation of African kinship and family relations. Consequently the black family developed various forms according to the different situation. Based on this premises Frazier theorized that:

Theory I

First, slavery and racism created the matriarchal character of the black family where by males are marginal ineffective figures in the family constellation. Two, the instability of martial life resulting from the lack of a legal basis for marriage during the period of slavery, which meant that marriage never, acquired the position of a strong institution in black life and causal sex relations were the prevailing norm. Third, the dissolution caused by the process of urbanization –the stability of family life in agrarian society.

                                                              Theory II

The Daniel Moynihan theory (1965) states similar hypothesis; he attempted to confirm Frazier’s theory that the black family was disorganized as result of slavery, urbanization and economic deprivation. But he added a new dimension to Frazier’s theory. He attempted to document his major hypothesis by citing statistics on the dissolution of black marriage, the high rate of black illegitimate births, the prevalence female headed households in the black community, and how the deterioration of the black family had led to a shocking increase in welfare. Although he cited the antecedents of slavery and high unemployment as historically important variables, he shifted the burden of black deprivation onto the black family rather than the social structure of the nation.

Theory III

The H. Gutman theory (1976) put to rest one of the most common and enduring myths about black families. Using census data for a number of cities between 1880 and 1925, Gutman found that the majority of blacks of all social classes were lodged in nuclear families. Through the use of the plantation birth records and marriage applications, he concluded that the biparental household was the dominant form of slavery. More important than Gutman’s compelling evidence that slavery did not destroy the black family was his contention that their family and kinship patterns that had originated under slavery. This contention gives credence to the Africanity model, which assumes the African origins for African American values, traits and behavior.

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