Since the early 1900s,
Black and white scholars have written much on the Black family. When
one examines the card catalogue of any library in America they will
find volumes of books, articles and newspaper clippings discussing
some aspect of Black family life.
What we need in the
African American community is a framework to examine and solve the
problems of Black family life on our own terms. The capturing of
African people, who were placed in chattel slavery in North America,
has left some devastating scars on the most basic unit or any group -
There is no question
that the family has been that unit that provides the basic foundation
for any group of people to survive and develop. Families constitute
grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters,
uncles, aunts and in-laws. Sometimes families extend beyond blood
relatives to those persons we bring into our families for whatever
Families function in
the context of their racial and ethnic identity. This identity is
shaped by the historical and external forces of a given society. Although the problems
of the Black family appear to be very complex on the one hand, on the
other, the problem is very simple.
First of all, African
people who were captured and introduced into the western hemisphere
as property and commodities were removed from their land and
institutional arrangements of African life.
Second, this process of
white takeover of Black life, through the most brutal form of
oppression - the slave trade and the eventual enslavement of African
people on the plantations of North America, has been a back breaking
experience for our people.
Even through our
survival techniques have been superior, in the face of brutal
psychological and physical violence against us, we are now at the
We face the challenge
of preserving some of the traditions of the Black family, developed
by our ancestors, who fought so hard against racism and white
supremacy in this country.
This must be done, in
part, through the continuing African Centered Education Movement. As
our renowned ancestor and deep thinker Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers
explained, African Centered Education should focus on the following:
- Advocates that
restoring the historical truth about Africa is the priority for African
thinkers (including Africans in the Diaspora).
- Holds that there is a
distinct universal African World View which should be the foundation for
all African intellectual development.
- Involves the massive education or rather
re-education of the African people of the world from an African
perspective in the interest of African people and directed by African
thinkers. It is a necessary pre-condition for the freedom of the
African mind and subsequently African liberation.
must not abandon family life. It is the basis for
our survival and development. It is the
strategy of the white supremacy system to place so much pressure on
us that we give up our fight for
independence and freedom.
the family unit begins to wither away, we must rise to the occasion
and fight to keep its basic elements alive in our communities.
It is the duty of all
Black people to understand that we are faced with a genocidal set of
circumstances in America. Look around our communities and what do we
We witness the absence
of that fighting family spirit among us that has been so much a part
of Black family life.
The family is the
support mechanism for all that we do and it is a sacred institution
that we must preserve and protect on our own terms.