Legacy of Slavery
According to the legacy of slavery thesis, slavery in the United States portrayed black males as insignificant within their families. The male’s traditional role as provider or “breadwinner” within the family was not recognized. Also, the female’s traditional role as homemaker was not often seen in black families. The thesis argues that many African American families were female headed or matriarchal and that this was because fathers and children were sold and separated, destroying that bond but keeping the link between mother and child. Because of this separation many African American families were single mother families. According to the thesis this forced women to put their domestic roles second behind providing for their family. Taking on this dominant role within the family instilled strength in the African American women and continued to break down the patriarchal tradition of family structure. At the end of the civil war when slaves were emancipated, any stability that had been built by African American families was torn down. Jobs were hard to find and most jobs that were available to African Americans did not pay well. Without the proper financial support it was often difficult for African American parents to keep custody of their children and keep their families intact. A migration of African Americans to the North began during the 1800’s due to the lack of employment opportunities in the South. According to the legacy of slavery thesis the African American migration to the North destroyed the patriarchal and two-parent family structure even further. The matriarchal African American family became better known due to the rise of single-mother black families in urban areas. Single-mother African American families were not seen in a positive way. The migration to the North brought hope of a better family life to many black women. However, upon arriving in the North they found that things were not much better then had been in...
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