The Beta Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. congratulates its spring 2005 Black Family Essay Contest winner, Anthony S. Ray Jr. Ray is a senior newspaper journalism student from Miami.
Printed below is the winning entry in its entirety:
One of the most drastic problems that black families face is the lack of fathers taking on the challenge of fatherhood.
There are more “Baby Daddy’s” in the black community than fathers. The father is supposed to be the leader and provider of the household, but it seems they’re more concerned with being black rather than being men. Some of the “Baby Daddy’s” do not even have high school diplomas or read at lower-levels.
These men play a major role in the development of children, but since their absence, many mothers have to be the dominating sole builder of the family.
Fathering a child is the most important development in a son’s life because a father teaches the fundamentals of self-respect, education and the smallest thing like knotting a tie. A father instills self-pride in his daughter, and he shows her how a man should respect and love her. He demonstrates this through his paternal relationship.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, “68 percent of black children in 2003 were born out of wedlock, and the same percentage of black children are living in single-family homes.”
Please do not misconceive what I am saying. A woman can lead a family, and this has been confirmed among black women. She can rear children to the highest potential. However, the mother did not have that child by herself.
Black men are merited on their self-pride, but how can you have pride in yourself when you have no job, no education and most importantly no hope. There are many groups targeted to the advanced development of black men, for example Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the black church, and the National Coalition of Concerned Black Men.
“Parenting needs to come to the forefront. If you need help and you don’t know how to parent, we want to be able to reach out and touch you,” Bill Cosby said. The Washington Times published this quotation from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 34th annual legislative conference.
Pride and arrogance are two different things. When you need help, you should ask for it. Matthew 7:7 reads, “Knock and the door shall be opened.” Our black brothers need to start banging on the door because that is the only way of improving our status within the black family.
Women who aid the bettering of black men.
Apparently, one of the many women that assist the positive influence of the black man is Fredricka S. Wilson, past South Atlantic Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc, and founder of the 500 Role Models of Excellence Program. This program provides young black men with the exposure of successful adult men who are college educated, leaders and or teachers at their local schools. Thank God for someone discovering that message.
According to Web site www.dade.k12.fl.us/role_models, the program offers “one-on-one mentoring, appropriate behavior, stay in school, and scholarships and the next level of education.” Unlike the normal status of the participants, I was not a troubled child, and both my parents were in my household. I am a product of the 500 Role Models of Excellence Program. I was a 1999 scholarship recipient of the program, and my essay focused on why I wanted to further my education
Similar programs like the 500 Role Models of Excellence encourages and supports the development of today’s troublesome and determined black youth. These youngsters turned from boys to men are productive and progressive once they are involved. I am so glad to know that there are men out there who give back.
I am a black man, and I intend on fully supporting my family. “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence,”said Martin Luther King Jr., past civil rights leader and prominent member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
I truly believe in men learning how to become positive father figures because it is a learning process that you have to participate in to accomplish the goal. Fatherhood is influential and most definitely significant.
Contact Anthony S. Ray Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org