As we celebrate and acknowledge the significance of Black History Month, we remember those who paved the way for success and progress among the black community. We remember the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote racial equality and to eradicate poverty and injustice. We remember the bravery and courage of Rosa Parks that ignited the Civil Rights Movement. We remember the education visionaries such as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois.
The task that this generation faces to preserve these legacies and accomplishments is to strengthen the modern day black family. The structure of the family is crucial in meeting social and economic needs.
It is essential and highly imperative that the role of the father be exemplified in black families. Many of the young black men that find themselves shackled to the chains of jails and prisons have lacked a strong father figure in their lives. Fathers provide wisdom, insight, discipline and encouragement. Nobody can serve as a greater role model than a father that is present in their children’s lives. Being a father is much more than being a semen donor. It requires having a consistent and active presence. It’s a father’s unconditional love that not only helps his children as they are growing up, but also allows them to treat other people in society with dignity and respect. A father’s love encourages his children to always dream and pursue their goals, and enthusiastically encourages them to be whatever they set their minds to be.
It’s a father discipline and maturity that will teach his children financial structure and how to provide the basic essential needs for their future families.
It is also a father’s spiritual hand of guidance that will instruct his children to depend on Almighty God for strength and refuge in times of adversity and great challenges.
I do want to applaud the strong efforts of the young, single black mother who may have to work multiple jobs to provide for her family. She is strong, relentless and faithful to her family. She possesses the courage to sacrifice her needs to make sure her family has the basic essentials of life. However, this does not excuse the absence of a father figure. A mother’s love and warmth should be complimented by the leadership of the father playing his role as head of his household.
A “perfect” family simply does not exist, whether it’s a black or white household. Every family endures struggles, hardships, emotional turmoil and various differences within the household. However, a strong and cohesive bond between the two-parent catalyst will provide wisdom and enrichment that will last a lifetime.
It is highly encouraging when I see many black students enrolled in college and pursuing good careers. It is indeed a reflection of the American dream to see many black individuals start their own businesses and become successful entrepreneurs. However, my heart does ache for the black families who may live in poverty and do not have access to many financial resources as some do. I believe this is due to a weakened family structure. If the black family structured is broken down, we risk the chance of preserving our history and gains in culture in society. Black history must not be a subject that is examined in history books in February alone, but it is what makes America the strong, diverse and thriving nation that it is. The strengthening of the modern day black family will be a thriving force in America’s greatness.
Demetrius Minor is a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network and is co-host of the blogtalkradio show "He Said, She Said" with Project 21 member Stacy Washington.
In addition, Demetrius is a blogger (demetriuspeaks.com), former White House intern, preacher, and columnist for Townhall, Red Alert Politics and Conservative Daily News.