Black Fathers Provide Their Families, Communities Much More than Money
June 18, 2012
June 13, 2012
At Atlanta Black Star, we are spending this entire week celebrating, honoring, exploring and uplifting Black Fatherhood by examining it through the lens of 7 themes: Lead, Build, Provide, Care, Protect, Work and Love. This is the third story in the series, looking at all the ways—often beyond money—that black fathers uplift their families by being providers.
Black men are more than providers of food, clothing and shelter for their families. They have, for decades, been role models for their immediate families and the black community in general. What they often provide is a vision of strength, perseverance and pride.
On the fireplace mantle in the home of Mary Miller sits the picture of Andrew Jackson. Not the seventh President of the United States, but grandfather to the Miller children, Mary, Ron, Shirley and Beverly. Grandpa Jackson’s picture is the largest picture on the mantle, and appropriately so. A small man of stature, he was larger than life. He was a teacher, preacher, single parent, and inventor of two patented items: eyeglasses for cockfights, and a device to keep tractors in a straight line for plowing fields. Born in the 19th Century, some years after the emancipation, Grandpa Jackson was a stern disciplinarian who gave and demanded respect. He lived proudly and fearlessly in the Jim Crow south—emphasis on living fearlessly and Jim Crow south. Grandpa Jackson was the grandfather of my husband, Ron Miller.
The stories that stood out about Grandpa Jackson were not his inventions, per se, but how he lived and how he was an example for the community. It was not uncommon for Grandpa Jackson to direct white delivery and service people to the back door to mirror blacks who were forced to do the same in his lifetime. Grandpa Jackson was a “helluva” man.
Like Grandpa Jackson, there are thousands of stories of good black men that recycle through the black community. Only a few make it to mainstream, but not nearly enough to break the misperceptions and stereotypes.
Ever heard of Phil Jackson? No, not the Lakers coach, but the head of The Black Star Project. He founded the Chicago-based organization in 1996, and has since been relentless about eliminating the academic achievement gap between white students and black and Latino students locally and nationally.
What about Tim King, founder and CEO of Urban Prep Academies, a non-profit organization operating a network of public college-prep boys’ schools in Chicago—most of them predominantly African American—including the nation’s first all male charter high school