Did the civil rights struggle cause our men to be more active fathers and husbands?

It is no secret that there are fewer African-American men in the household today than ever before. Often times many wonder why there are a growing number of single parent homes. Is it the pressure of being a head of household, financial struggles between couples, the rise in now educated and independent women, or is it the rise or same sex relationships? Truth be told, according to the U.S. Census, as of 2009 there are 9.9 million African American single mothers in today’s country and most of these mothers hold an income of less than $25,000 a year. Adding insult to injury, most single mothers on average only get $300 a month in child support. So we ask ourselves why?

What makes it so different now than less than 50 years ago when there were more men in the household? Then again, when men were present in the homes it created unity in a family or community while the rest of society had segregated them and denied them equal civil rights. Were men there with their children and wives more because in that time, equality was preached aggressively through the media as well as the churches?

After polling five women with no replies from a male for their point of view, Saundra from Indiana stated; “Men were trained to be Bucks from even when slavery existed. The master would use young men or Bucks as they called it to sleep with various women and impregnate them to produce more children to go into slavery. In my opinion I think in their blood, African-American men still perform this same ritual. Sleeping with various women and in the process impregnating many. Thus having the blood of a buck.”

Speaking to 77-year-old Eugene Mae Sims of Texas she stated, “It wasn’t common for women to leave their husbands in those days. If he was providing for us, many of us looked the other way if he was unfaithful. It was easier to stay then.”

With the many opportunities women have today, it’s common for them to become independent if they are in an unhappy relationship. And with the growing number of educated and successful women comes the declining number of women who are just homemakers. I do believe in the idea that the civil rights struggle was the root of men taking care of their children and having devotion to their wives. With the civil rights struggle almost obsolete now, the fight for unity is not spoken of as much either. Do you feel with the gain in equal civil rights has contributed to inactive fathers and husbands?



  1. Aisha Staggers says:

    I don’t wholly disagree with this, but I do see it differently. I think that there are two factors missing from this argument. What’s different now are 1) since integration, more black males are placed in special education as compared to any other group. This limits their employability and men who cannot financially support their children are less likely to actively parent; 2) the prison-for-profit infrastructure that has allowed corporations that specialize in building prisons lobby to state legislatures to create laws and sentencing guidelines that will ensure they reach capacity specifically targets black and Latino males; 3) renewed and consistent emphasis on the sexual stereotyping of both sexes in such a way that makes marriage something those under 40 see as undesirable and a threat to black masculinity. Despite the fact that black women’s HIV cases continue to surge, the general consensus is that in the last decade, we’ve learned much more in terms of how to protect ourselves that casual sexual relationship are viewed as safer than in the 1990s; and finally, 4) changes in federal laws in 1997 that denied benefits to assist working poor families where a male was in the house implicitly sought to destroy the black family.

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