African American Family

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Originating during slavery, the African American family is an institution that has encountered an abounding amount of obstacles for centuries. Yet, since the 1960s, there has been a rapid decrease in the black family. Three theorist who examined the African American family were E. Franklin Frazier, Daniel Moynihan, and H. Gutman. Frazier’s was the first to examine the black family’s characteristics and the cause for its slow decline; Moynihan echoed Frazier and provided data to support his claims, but, Gutman held ideas unlike the others. However, all of these theories were before mass incarcerations that have led to the decline of the African American family. Sociologist E. Franklin Frazier presented the first theory on the black family. …show more content…
In his report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action”, Moynihan stated that the root of the black family’s disorganization as being slavery and urbanization. To support his urbanization theory, Moynihan recalled what happen to Irish immigrant families when they moved to northern cities. Just as African Americans, the Irish abruptly moved to the North and into slums which fostered crime, juvenile delinquency, and family disorganization (Moynihan 17). Moynihan further demonstrated this idea by including data regarding black families. In one chart, which detailed the percentage of broken homes across the country, more than thirty percent of non-white families living in cities were broken, more than the national average (Moynihan 18). To solve this problem, Moynihan believed that the government should “strengthen the Negro family”, especially black men (48). By providing financial and educational assistance to black families and black men, Moynihan felt that the black family would be able to support itself and become stronger. However, if the black family failed to receive the proper support, or denied any assistance offered to them, Moynihan believed that there would be a rise in “juvenile delinquency and adult crime” causing the black family to continue to break down (48). Yet, this was not an idea supported by that of H. …show more content…
Gutman believed two parent households were dominant during slavery, and cited plantation marriage applications and birth records that he found to support this idea (“The State of the African American Family”). Additionally, Gutman did not see slavery as being a factor in the decline of the African American family because census records from 1880 to 1925, showed that nuclear black families were present in all social classes (“The State of the African American Family”). With this data, Gutman argued that slavery is what developed the African American family, a drastically different conclusion than the ones found by Frazier and Moynihan. However, Gutman’s theory did not account for what would happen in the

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