In the context of growing diversity, Shirley A. Hill examines the work parents do in raising their children. Based on interviews and survey data, African American Children includes blacks of various social classes as well as a comparative sample of whites. It covers major areas of child socialization: teaching values, discipline strategies, gender socialization, racial socialization, extended families -- showing how both race and class make a difference, and emphasizing patterns that challenge existing research that views black families as a monolithic group.

Childhood in Transition
Childhood in transition

The universal testimony of travelers and missionaries [is] that the love of the African mother for her children is unsurpassed in any part of the world.… It is not surprising, then, to find that slave mothers, instead of viewing with indifference the sale, or loss otherwise, of their children, often put up a stubborn resistance and suffered cruel punishment to prevent separation from them.

E. FranklinFrazier, The Negro Family in the United States (1939/1949, pp. 33, 41)

The history of Africans in North America dates back nearly as far as that of white Europeans, yet racial status has been the basis for the dramatically different experiences for the two groups and, subsequently, for their children. Slavery, racism, and racial inequality have been ...

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