Black Families

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Family is a basic unit in every society. However, the makeup of a family is more complex to define. There are so many types of families that it is impossible to have one distinct definition in trying to explain how a true family is defined. For example, there are married couples with or without children, single-parent families, and even families headed by gay men or lesbians. These may not have been considered families not too long ago, but now must be recognized because we live in such a diverse society. What I want to focus on is the African-American family, in terms of what they had to go through before, during, and after slavery. As well as, where they are now and where it's going in the future. When Africans were brought to America during slavery they were forced to give up most of their heritage and were usually separated from their families. This common occurrence usually brought about tremendous pain and grief to the slaves. "West Africa family systems were severely repressed throughout the New World (Guttmann, 1976)". Some slaves tried to continue practices, such as polygamy, that were a part of traditional African cultures but were unsuccessful. However, they were successful in continuing the traditional African emphasis on the extended family. In the extended family, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents played important roles. Slaves weren't allowed to marry, but they didn't let that stop them, they created their own marriages. And through all the hardships they had placed on them, they developed strong emotional bonds and family ties. The slaves discouraged casual sexual relationships and placed a lot emphasis on marriage and stability. To maintain some family identity, parents named their children after themselves or other relatives or sometimes gave them African names. Slaves had no control over their lives. Their slave owners made all decisions that had anything to with the slaves. Slave families worked for their...
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