Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

African American Grief

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

African American Grief

Article excerpt

African American Grief. Paul C. Rosenblatt & Beverly R. Wallace. New York: Routledge. 2005. 193 pp. ISBN 0-4159-5151-8. $90.00 (hardback).

Grief is the most incapacitating experience in the human experience. For African Americans, grief takes on a unique quality. Paul Rosenblatt and Beverly Wallace fill a long existing void concerning African American grief. The book elaborates upon the varied responses African Americans make respecting grief. Additionally, they address the institutional, cultural, and religious factors that influence African American grief. Educators, health-care professionals, clinicians, and practitioners of all arenas will benefit greatly from Rosenblatt and Wallace's treatment of ethno-specific grief. An understanding of the African American family and church are central to the responses and consequences of grief. The authors also reflect the familial dynamics unique to African Americans. They also provide a sufficient treatment of the role of the Black church in Black life. African Americans have come a long way from the cotton fields of the South to every major urban center in the country. Rosenblatt and Wallace sufficiently address the Eurocentric nature of grief education and clinical intervention. While tending to experience socioeconomic disadvantage and its consequences, African Americans have demonstrated an enduring resilience despite terminal illness, grief, and death.

Rosenblatt and Wallace provide a sociohistorical context concerning grief. Grief is an inevitable part of life. Every ethnic group will experience the loss of a loved one. However, each group will rely upon a wide range of strategies rooted in their unique cultural and experiential knowledge. Historically, African Americans have been limited in their integration into key institutional settings in the larger society. For this reason, they have relied upon family, friends, and the Black church for solace and comfort following a loss. …

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