The great folks at Colorlines are currently running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men. This months installments focus on Black fatherhood. Please read the first essay ‘The Untold Story of Black Fatherhood’ by Stacia L. Brown here. Today’s re-blog is a photo essay by Marcus Franklin who refocuses the distorting lens of mainstream media with intimate portraits of black dads and their kids. It first appeared on Colorlines.com on November 19 2014.
In June of 2013 I started photographing black men and their children and created The Fatherhood Project, the online home for photos that capture them in ordinary moments. A single dad helping his daughter with math homework during a break at work. A dad teaching his daughter how to walk as they wait to see a doctor. A father and son chilling on a stoop.
Why photograph black men and their children? What’s extraordinary about these subjects?
For starters, black men taking care of our children is, on some level, revolutionary—and a form of resistance to the legacies of laws and other tools used to hinder our ability to parent. During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, for example, fathers were routinely separated from their children as family members were sold. And currently, disproportionately and consistently high incarceration and unemployment rates for black men have made it difficult, if not impossible for many to parent. There’s also the disproportionately high rate of homicide among black men, whether by people in their own communities or at the hands of the state. My own father was murdered by a cop a couple of weeks before my 15th birthday.
As New York Times writer Brent Staples asked in a tweet this past Fathers’ Day: “Imagine yourself jailed on a low-level Rockefeller-era drug charge. Now a felon: denied a job, housing and the vote. How would you ‘Father’”