Acton Institute Powerblog

Does Black History Have a Future?

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As America celebrates Black History Month, Anthony Bradley looks at the forces that threaten the very foundation of black society in this country. “Two aspects of pre-civil rights-era black history — strong men and strong families — will have to be recovered if we wish to have any black history in the future,” Bradley warns.

Read the full commentary here.

Jonathan Spalink


  • John Leach

    I have a problem with the contemporary "Black" church. It appears that the collapse of the Black family occured on its watch. Why has it been so ineffective? Too much "it takes a village" and not enough personal responsibility being taught. I just see it as too much of a "feel good" experience, singing and dancing, and not enough character development. Just my limited observation.

  • Mark Sofman

    Mr Bradley,

    Taking off from your lead, you might find these two articles of interest, from just outside the Beltway, but not far enough.

  • paul foucher

    I am dumbfounded by your assertion that ‘strong (black) men’ are anachronistic! And that somehow, this can be attributed to the church. To free yourself from the supernatural…, or for that matter, anything, has strength as a necessary condition of that development. Perhaps, the strength required for future human development is being atrophied in the sterile institutions you champion. The American, infantile obsession with sexuality and immoral worship of property limit the humanity of society and evolution of the citizenry. Miseducation, I prefer conditioning, makes intellectual slaves of the people, and a superior, unaccountable ruling class. EQUALITY and JUSTICE are the human characteristics sublimated and attenuated in the "church". Why are we only equal in the eyes of GOD, and justice only attained the hereafter?

  • Johnstone Ole Turana

    I’m not an American but the issues raised in article clearly touches on other societies , ours in Kenya just an example. Unless we strenthen the family make it the first institution of proper learning, we are simply engaged in panel beating trying to reshape the people either through our education systems or otherwise.
    It’s by bringing up a well responsible and focused children in a loving but firm family environment that our society will move in the right direction. The misnomer of freedom many parents-blacks, whites-are allowing their kids to have with little responsibilty expalin the phenomenon rise in early pregnacy, substance abuse and crime rate.

  • Joseph D’Agostino

    As a Catholic, I certainly agree that black men like all others should belong to a multi-racial church rather than a specifically black one. But that does not mean that Mr. Bradley’s larger points are false. It seems to me that black men, like other men, must be offered models of strong manhood to provide a natural alternative to the unattractive models of men-as-imitation-women (the feminists’ desire) or men-as-violent-predators (gangsta rappers’ vision). Men as leaders and protectors of families is one such model, and young men in general would be more likely to step up to responsibility if they received the authority that comes with being the heads of a families rather than having an unnatural, unscriptural, and unworkable notion of egalitarian marriages pushed on them. And with that must come the also unegalitarian doctrine that Christian headship means exercising authority primarily for the sake of those under it. Only disciplined character formation instilled by strong male role models could possibly produce such men out of boys on a regular basis, not the media’s "sainted" single mothers.

    Joseph D’Agostino

  • Michael Bradford

    I’m in the black church, went to undergrad and grad school, a grad school that teaches freemarket economics. I am distressed by the black male crisis. Yes, more women attend higher learning institutions and school in general. I believe that the black experience is not happenstance. There is undoubtedly racism and fear of the black male in corporate America. There is a government white washing indifference to the black experience. How social programs effectively split the black family and still does. There is an overall disregard for the plight of black america as even the government has yet to acknowledge its role in slavery. Until we as a nation stand up and take responsibility and at least admit our role in this mess, the problem will continue. It is amazing that every other ethnic group which has experience these issues have been treated fundamentally more favorable than black america. But that is the situation we find ourselves in. Individual accountability is still the key, but certainly if our government were serious about the issue, then stand up and be counted. Until that time we will continue to see articles such as these. Peace.

  • Jason

    I believe (almost to the point of obsession) that social programs are the #1 reason behind the breakdown of the traditional family. The fact that the saftey net exists has a tremendous impact on the type of men that women choose to have children with.

    In today’s corrupt culture many women choose "bad boy" player types over the decent men that would have made wonderful husbands and fathers. Because of the welfare state women can have children with a bad boy (or various bad boys) and suffer no serious ramifications. If social programs didn’t exist, women would have more incentive to choose the good guys they currently reject.

    This may be more of a problem in the black community, but the traditional family is decreasing in all races. Since such a small minority of people are in favor of drastic cutbacks in welfare, I predict that women will continue to reject decent men in larger and larger numbers which will turn the traditional family into a small subculture. The question is was this all planned out or did it happen by random chance?

  • Cliff Washington


    Thank you for your post. I found it interesting. We need to remember that the "good guys" too often turn out to be "bad boys player types" with a different outward appearance. This issue is present in every community-men not living up to the definition and meaning of men and fathers.

  • john bosco Ruzibiza

    Am Youth activist trying to promoting the unity and development of africa. However; we africans see black americans as people whose values has been tested and raised victorious among other vivilisations;thus; our modes. The acticle to me is another voice like that of martin luther king to rediscover again our selves; to avoid another promiscurity.
    Rwanda my country failed to care for history and Genocide was the result: Any diuse of history and culture to us rwandans is dangerious