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Slavery helped to generate ‘The Absent Black Father’

BY TARYN ST.LOUIS, JUNE 10, 2020

Let’s focus on our black kings. The head of the household, defenders of their bloodlines. Our black men aren’t failing their families because they want to. They are failing because they weren’t taught how to be men. Sounds harsh? Well, let’s think about this. How many single mothers do you know? The cycle has been in existence for years, and even though we may try many ways to escape the reality, it dates back to slavery.

As a baby needs time and guidance in order to learn how to walk, so does a people who were ripped of every social freedom known to man.

What would life have been like for a family torn apart and sold to multiple slave owners? According to Heather Andrea Williams of University of North Carolina, https://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/, Both slaves and slave owners referred to these relationships between men and women as “abroad marriages.” A father might live several miles away on a distant plantation and walk, usually on Wednesday nights and Saturday evenings to see his family as his obligation to provide labor for an owner took precedence over his personal needs. Does this sound familiar in any way?


Many of our ancestors watched their families torn apart as children, and got accustomed to a visit from their daddy every now and then. Belonging to another human being while trying to maintain a household is a different level of sorrow. Each mother who was left with the task of raising our black men tried their best, but the anger was already there. Festering through our bloodlines, this dark stain of involuntary absenteeism and lack of healthy family dynamics rears its ugly head in all of our communities. Our men are perpetuating these social ills and our women, unfortunately, have accepted them as normal.

How do we change? Of course, there are many examples of healthy black nuclear families and single moms and dads who raise healthy, well-rounded children. So here is the answer. Lead by example. This is our only hope. If we want to see change, we must become that change. As a baby learns to walk, through patience and guidance, we must show our children what it means to have a healthy family bond.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Author Unknown

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