This book examines the social, economic, and cultural factors that have produced the current crisis in African American masculinity, tracing the development of concepts of manhood from pre-colonial West Africa through the Emancipation Proclamation in America. The study begins with an exploration of the cultural context of manhood and the social development of boys into men in West Africa which was based on the rites of passage and the mastery of such social skills as hunting and farming. Enslavement annihilated this unambiguous social status. Denied the possibility of fulfilling the necessary social roles of warrior, husband, father, and protector, African men were forced to redefine manhood, without the benefit of communal discussions. Hence, manhood to many enslaved African American men became an increasingly ambiguous and elusive concept, coupled with problematic notions of sexual performance, absolute patriarchal domination of the household, and the devaluation of commitments that impinge upon a man's independence. Narratives written between 1794 and 1863 reveal that by the end of slavery the concept had become a source of major conflict for African American men. This unique study focuses on the deterioration of the black male concept of manhood in 19th-century America and explores the dilemma of what it means to be black and male in America.
About Daniel P. Black
See more books from this Author
Published September 10, 2012
History, Political & Social Sciences.