Yesterday was Father’s Day and for the first time on this particular day since he died in 1990, I really thought about how much I missed my Dad. Usually this holiday doesn’t affect me, but Sunday, I found myself a little melancholy.
Two African American women were at a college conference where several references were made to the lack of black fathers being a factor in a student’s education. These women countered by letting those expressing these opinions that this was not their reality, nor that for many blacks. Out of that momentous occasion came an anthology, Our Black Fathers: Brave, Bold and Beautiful. I was blessed to contribute my story, “A Dad’s First Born.”
My reality was my father was present and accountable, and truth be told, most of my peers, friends, and cousins had the same reality. True, this was back in the day but I do not want to forget nor take that for granted but by all means I do not think this far from the norm, even these days. There are many black fathers in their children’s lives; it is simply one-sided and provincial to assume that the majority of black fathers were MIA.
My story is particularly important to me because I had written the draft several years ago and had submitted different version to different venues requesting father stories but could not seem to get it accepted anywhere. I was pleased that editor, Anita Royston and Joslyn Gaines Vanderpool saw the value of the piece and got what I was trying to portray; showing a man that while he was bigger than life to me, was just a man; who had insecurities and flaws, because of the lack of a father in his own life. How he rose above his circumstances and became a wonderful provider and mentor.
If you want to read about positive father of African descent, you can read it in Our Black Fathers: Brave, Bold and Beautiful.