TitleFrom the reunions of Reconstruction to the reconstruction of reunions
NameFrazier, Krystal Denise (author), Bay, Mia (chair), Fabian, Ann (internal member), Lawson, Steven (internal member), White, Deborah (internal member), Phillips, Kimberley (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
African American families,
African American extended families,
Extended families--United States,
Family reunions--United States--History
DescriptionOnly in the last forty years have scholars began to take seriously the expansive kinship networks often seen in African American families. Although African Americans
have a longstanding history of maintaining extended kinship networks, which often also incorporated non-relatives as adoptive kin, the majority of scholars who have researched black kin systems are not historians. Such work has largely been taken up by sociologists and anthropologists. Moreover, few historians have researched black kin systems beyond the period of Reconstruction. This dissertation historicizes black family culture and its impact on political and economic history after Emancipation.
The dissertation uses a thematic and chronological approach to examine the ways in which traditions of familial flexibility, first developed under slavery, continued to shape African Americans' conceptualizations of family and patterns of organizing
well into the Twentieth Century. Both the reunion movements of Reconstruction and the turn of the twenty-first century demonstrate the importance of familial networks to black communities. Chapters on black church families at the turn of the twentieth
century, interdependent families affected by twentieth century war-time migration, and political kinship established by black families in the late-twentieth century Civil Rights Movement reveal the ways in which African Americans conceptions of family shaped
their efforts to address poverty, racism, and familial dispersion.
The dissertation builds on historical work on the black family, as well sociological and anthropological theories to make several interventions. By using family
as both a site for historical inquiry as well as an analytical framework for interpreting history, the dissertation introduces new methods of investigating the political and economic impact of black family culture. The project also sheds new light on old
historiographical questions, including the ways in which the church became the most autonomous of black institutions in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries as well as the impact of migration on the societies migrants leave behind, by examining
them through the lens of family. Additionally, it contributes a historian's analysis to a growing and necessary literature on the characteristics and experiences of black families that advances scholarly discussions beyond pathology debates and monolithic
depictions of black family life.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 291-302)
Noteby Krystal Denise Frazier
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.