The Black Family: Strengths, Self-Help, and Positive Change

The Black Family: Strengths, Self-Help, and Positive Change

The Black Family: Strengths, Self-Help, and Positive Change

The Black Family: Strengths, Self-Help, and Positive Change


With eleven selections designed to reinforce the goal of empowering clients to take charge of their lives, this edited volume serves a two-fold purpose. It extends the small but growing body of strength-oriented literature to include African-American families and it serves as a natural extension of current texts on African-American families to provide social workers and the education community with a broader framework for understanding the needs of Black families. Offering both a research orientation and a practice perspective, this book should appeal to social work educators and practitioners involved in family services, health and mental health settings, and child and public welfare.


Sadye Logan and her colleagues are to be commended for this very important new addition to the growing body of literature on strengths of the Black family. Every student, scholar, policy maker, teacher, and professional concerned with African American families from an academic or programmatic perspective will find this collection of essays and studies a valuable new resource. It combines insightful theoretical and conceptual analyses with advice, counsel, and recommendations that will be useful to practitioners working in many areas related to the health and well-being of Black families.

In the three decades since Daniel Patrick Moynihan published his highly controversial report entitled The Negro Family: a Case for National Action (1965), African American scholars have led the way in amassing evidence and providing alternative interpretations to dislodge and discredit the "deficit model" of Black families popularized by the Moynihan report. Moynihan's declaration that African Americans are caught in a "tangle of pathology" caused by the "deteriorating" structure of the lower-income family spurred an entire generation of scholars to challenge his formulations and interpretations.

A number of these scholars focused on documenting the historical and continuing strengths of African American families, who faced racism and discrimination in employment, education, housing, health care, and every other social sector that affects family life. Andrew Billingsley 's Black Families in White America (1968) and Robert Hill's The Strength of Black Families (1971) were pioneering efforts in this regard. Significant and lasting contributions to this genre were also made, beginning in the 1970s, by Charles Willie, Robert Staples, Carol Stack, Walter Allen, Harriette and John McAdoo, and others.

The work of Sadye Logan and her colleagues builds on this tradition: in addition to documenting the strengths of Black families, it proposes "strength-oriented solutions to the problems impacting the quality" of . . .

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