By: Kindall D.
“Why do you talk about love so much?” I’ll never forget opening up my Facebook inbox and reading this question during one of those “numbers” games that was popular years ago. I simply responded, “because I love love.”
Love and relationships have always been a major interest of mine because it is what makes us who we are. The love relationship we watched between our parents growing up is what we grew to understand as being the correct way to love and have a healthy love relationship. That’s why it’s so important to me.
That’s why I decided to write about it as my senior thesis project upon graduating from college in 2014. I knew I needed a topic I would be passionate enough about to write over 10 pages worth of good quality material. I specifically chose to study and research why the nuclear black family was becoming non-existence. What I discovered blew my mind and made me cherish black love that much more.
Black love is important because the odds are stacked against us. We have faced far more disadvantages than our White counterparts. Our nuclear families, meaning a mother and father whom are married with kids, are slowly disappearing and are not as prominent as they were before the 1960s.
How It All Began
“Slavery didn’t destroy our black families, welfare did.”
Until 1865, when slavery ended in the United States, Blacks could not legally marry. Soon after slavery was abolished, the black marriage statistics soared. The U.S. Census reveals that during 1880 and 1960, married households consisting of two parents were the most widespread form of black family structure. Black single parent households did exist during this time but were far from the norm. The statistics for the single parent household remained relatively stable but increased during the 1960s.
In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, implemented legislature nicknamed, The War On Poverty, to help poverty stricken communities which consisted of predominantly Blacks.
The War On Poverty included means-tested government welfare assistance programs that meant certain criteria had to be met before benefits were awarded. In order for families to receive an adequate amount of welfare help, they had to be single.
This in turn caused many households to stop relying on the fathers for support and/or send the fathers away in order for the household to receive the maximum amount of benefits. This opened the door for the start of broken homes and families to manifest in the black community.
Instead of having jobs and skills training provided or having wages increased, we were given hand-outs instead, crippling our black family structures in the process.
In 1965, sociologist and later Democrat senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, warned of the coming destruction of the nuclear black family in his ground-breaking The Negro Family: The Case For National Action or better known as The Moynihan Report.
Writing to President Lyndon Johnson, Moynihan, then the Assistant Secretary of Labor, argued that without access to jobs and the means to contribute meaningful support to a family, black men would be systematically alienated from their roles as husbands and fathers.
He further proposed that this would cause rates of divorce, abandonment and out-of-wedlock births to increase in the black community (a trend that had already begun by the mid 1960s), leading to vast increases in the numbers of female headed households. Moynihan saw the breakdown of the black nuclear family as the fundamental source of weakness in the Black community.
While writing The Moynihan Report, Moynihan was employed in a political appointee position at the US Department of Labor, hired to help develop policy for the Johnson administration in its War on Poverty. Moynihan hoped the government would change their decision with The War On Poverty legislation but his wishes were ignored and his profound statements obviously fell on deaf ears. Moynihan was indeed considered one of the first academics to defy conventional social-science wisdom about the structure of poverty.
Black Love Is Born
Whenever we see successful black couples beating the odds that we’re stacked against them, we celebrate them. Black love has been challenged since slavery when our families were denied citizenship and marriage certificates.
“The breakdown of the black community, in order to maintain slavery, began with the breakdown of the black family. Men and women wereh not legally allowed to get married because you couldn’t have that kind of love. It might get in the way of the economics of slavery. Your children could be taken from you and literally sold down the river.” -Actress, Kerry Washington
However, we did not let slavery stop us from having small ceremonies, secretly wedding us even it our unions weren’t thought to be official or legal. Our ceremonies included waving a broom over the couples head or jumping over the broom, hence why some Black weddings still practice this ritual today. This ritual is believed to have originated from West Africa.
We highlight black love simply to show our support and to hopefully continue raising our marriage statistics in today’s world.
We do not boast about black love because we believe our love to be better or because no other love is important, we boast about black love to keep our love alive.
We boast about black love to change our generational curse of broken nuclear black families so that we too can have strong family structures. A strong, united family structure is needed to support us as we bare the hardships of this world.