Marriage in Black: The Pursuit of Married Life among American-born and Immigrant Blacks

Despite the messages we hear from social scientists, policymakers, and the media, black Americans do in fact get married―and many of these marriages last for decades. Marriage in Black offers a progressive perspective on black marriage that rejects talk of black relationship “pathology” in order to provide an understanding of enduring black marriage that is richly lived. The authors offer an in-depth investigation of details and contexts of black married life, and seek to empower black married couples whose intimate relationships run contrary to common―but often inaccurate―stereotypes. Considering historical influences from Antebellum slavery onward, this book investigates contemporary married life among more than 60 couples born after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Husbands and wives tell their stories, from how they met, to how they decided to marry, to what their life is like five years after the wedding and beyond. Their stories reveal the experiences of the American-born and of black immigrants from Africa or the Caribbean, with explorations of the “ideal” marriage, parenting, finances, work, conflict, the criminal justice system, religion, and race. These couples show us that black family life has richness that belies common stereotypes, with substantial variation in couples’ experiences based on social class, country of origin, gender, religiosity, and family characteristics.