The great folks at Colorlines are currently running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. The current topic is Black fatherhood. Please view the related articles ‘The Untold Story of Black Fatherhood’ and ‘A New Image of Black Fatherhood’. Today’s re-blog is a video introduced by Kai Wright, produced by André Robert Lee and edited by Elizabeth Rao. It first appeared on Colorlines on November 19th 2014.
In the video above, our series’ filmmaker André Robert Lee speaks with a pastor in New Haven, Conn., whose life reveals one of the many things about black family that gets overlooked in the constant handwringing about a crisis of black fathers. For centuries, black families have had a tradition of communal parenting. This tradition stretches back to our West African roots and it was among the cultural tools we used to survive slavery in the Americas and the terrorism of 20th century segregation—both of which actively sought to destroy black family units. The tradition continues to buttress black families navigating today’s endemic poverty and the abuses of the criminal justice system. Father Mathis and the men for whom he has been a surrogate father share their stories with Colorlines, and we thank them.