Following the success of its best-selling predecessors, the Fourth Edition of Harriette Pipes McAdoo's Black Families retains several now classic contributions while including updated versions of earlier chapters and many entirely new chapters. The goal through each revision of this core text has been to compile a book that focuses on positive dimensions of African American families. The book remains the most complete assessment of black families available in both depth and breadth of coverage. Cross-disciplinary in nature, the book boasts contributions from such fields as family studies, anthropology, education, psychology, social work, and public policy.

An Overview of Race and Marital Status

An overview of race and marital status

Relationships between Black men and women have had a peculiar evolution. Unlike the white family, which historically has been a patriarchy sustained by the economic dependence of the female, the Black dyad has been characterized by more egalitarian roles and economic parity in North America. The system of slavery did not permit the Black male to assume the superordinate role in the family constellation, as the female was not economically dependent on him. Hence, relationships between the sexes were ordered along sociopsychological factors rather than economic compulsion to marry and remain married. This fact, in part, explains the unique trajectory of Black male-female relationships.

In the postslavery era, the economic parity of Black ...

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