Single Custodial Fathers: An Excerpt from The Myth of the Missing Black Father

Written by Love Isn’t Enough co-editor Julia. To read a book review of The Myth of the Missing Black Father, click here.

If black fathers are generally invisible in our culture, perhaps single custodial black fathers are among the most invisible. Interestingly, this was largely the case for researchers as well, until very recently. As Roberta Coles notes in her chapter on single custodial fathers: “until the early 2000s, no one had bothered to look at black single fathers who parented full-time on their own, despite the fact that census data indicated that the percentage of households with children headed by black men was about the same as, or higher than, that of households with children headed by white men” (p. 85). In fact, she notes, even “longstanding scholars of fatherhood” had difficulty imagining single custodial fatherhood as an option. Coles acknowledges that she shared this view until a student–a single, custodial father himself–shared his story with her and piqued her interest. The study that resulted profiles 20 African American single custodial fathers. By special arrangement with the publisher, you may read it here.

[Excerpted from The Myth of the Missing Black Father edited by Roberta L. Coles and Charles Green. Copyright © 2010 Columbia University Press. Used by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.]

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