Historically, the importance of family and family relationships in the African American community has little changed. As McAdoo (2007) notes, "The strong family tradition among blacks...survived the slave system, then legal segregation, discrimination, and enforced poverty" (p. 5). President-elect Obama and his successful and healthy family demonstrate how family strength in the African American community has overcome all obstacles in society. The significance of African American mothers as anchor of the family cannot be underestimated in black culture, including grandmothers, aunts, and other female family members. This analysis will provide a discussion of family relationships in African American families, showing how family strength is engendered in the black community.
If the strength of black families endures against such overwhelming odds, it is because of more than education or economic success. McAdoo (2007) maintains the inner strength of the African American family "lies in the quality of the relationships of its people, their grounding in their own culture, and their constant striving" (p. 9). Mothers serve as the anchor of black families and community. In many instances it is the bond between the mother and children in African American families that is most responsible for the enduring strength of the family and its relationships in black culture.
Relationships between black mothers or female head of household caregivers and their children exhibit a number of strengths that the mother helps bestow upon the children. These strengths serve as support mechanisms or networks in the African American family and black communities as they confront the challenges unique to them. McAdoo (2007, p. 5) lists these strengths as:
. Legitimation of beingness
. Provision of a family code
. Elasticity of boundaries
. Provisions of informa...