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The Black Family StructureManuel McLemore
By Nikki and Manuel McLemore, Prisonersolidarity.org
Feb. 19, 2006

The black family structure, what can we say, has been compromised by the ways of a materialistic society. We wonder why most of our homes are matriarchal? It's because our men have been subjected to be absent for a numerous reasons and its MOM who has to play both roles to bring about a strong foundation not only for the children, but the love relationship with her man (i.e. husband, boyfriend, companion, life partner etc.).

She walks lightly, smiles much and carries an iron fist. Why, because our men are not home thanks to the separation by default (i.e. Imprisonment). When we had that strong patriarchal home the MAN came m to break down our Kings, by separating us from our head of the house hold figures ''Our Men". Women today have had to fight to be a presence m this world and black women get less than their fare share of accolades for all they endure to keep the ''family'' together. When our men are beaten down, stripped of their dignity and made to be less of a man then they are--who has to step up? The woman. Once we as women had to take that stand, it changed the dynamics of what "a man m the house" meant.

Women are made to be power hungry because when we least expect it we have no one to lean on for support except ourselves. Is it fair to put all men out like that and say they aren't good? No, we still need our men to be just that Our Men, our protectors, providers, but with so much brow beating, we as women forget that sometimes we need to give a little to get a lot. Men need to be needed and when this happens not only does the Black Family strive and survive, it flourishes and history is passed on for generations to come.

See we as a structure can make a mighty sound united, but we only sound like whispers when we are divided and this has been where many of our problems have occurred. Where did we lose the ability to communicate within or our families? Before we could read and write we had so much m common then one day, things changed and forever more have we lost sight of from once we came.

The beauty of our black family structure is that, no matter what happens with the confines of our families, did we ever let anyone from the outside come to regulate or disrespect. Today this has no merit, often someone from the outside has over stepped their boundaries to introduce the poisons of society to turn families against each other, bringing down one more unit or strength to a mere existence of silence, isolation, desertion, separation and frailties. We as a black family structure need to readdress how it was that our ancestors made it for so many years, before they were forced into assimilation (i.e. prison and slavery). When we as black people behave like a family we reap the benefits of the whole unit, rather than the struggles of one who has to carry us all.

When did the word family start standing for ONE?
Unity, communication, LOVE, food and sharing are what gave us our black family structures, so why did we abandon such a detailed outline?

--
Manuel McLemore, # A 293546
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd.
Youngstown, OH 44505

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