Cover image for What it means to be daddy : fatherhood for Black men living away from their children
What it means to be daddy : fatherhood for Black men living away from their children
Hamer, Jennifer.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xi, 258 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1250 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.86 .H28 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ

On Order



Absent fathers, the breakdown of the nuclear family, and single-mother households are blamed for the poor quality of life experienced by African American children. Jennifer F. Hamer challenges both the imposition of an inappropriate value system and the resulting ineffectual social policies.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Sociologist Hamer (Southern Illinois Univ.) has attempted a useful project: an ethnography of poor black fathers who do not live with their children. At a time when 70 to 90 percent of black children are or will be fatherless, this is a timely concern. Hamer accomplishes the difficult task of getting 50 such fathers to talk to her about their lives and their fathering. The extensive quotations from her subjects are the most valuable part of the book. Her thesis is that these couples are creating an alternative form of parenting to the mainstream expectation, one which values the emotional support that "daddy" gives to children, without expecting these men to be husbands and providers for their families. On the whole, though, the evidence that Hamer presents mostly contradicts her thesis. The mothers wish they had supportive husbands who provided for their families but are willing to settle for whatever help they can get from their children's fathers. The fathers themselves, far from celebrating their brave new families, express regret that they do not live up to the ideal of fatherhood and family life that they share with the rest of society. Academic collections. B. Weston Centre College

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
What It Means to Be Daddyp. 0
Introduction: Fathers' Lives in Contextp. 1
Part 1 The World in Which Black Fathers Livep. 16
1 There's No Such Thing as a Good Black Fatherp. 17
2 Slavery, Civil War, and Reconstructionp. 33
3 Times Are Just Going to Get Worsep. 53
4 Just Be There for the Babyp. 77
5 Black Men Can Do Betterp. 102
Part 3 Being Fathersp. 130
6 What Fathers Say They Do as Daddiesp. 131
7 Live-Away, but Absent?p. 151
8 Ain't Nothing like Trying to Be a Father and Trying to Be a Manp. 176
Conclusion: Got to Make Fatherhood Work for Usp. 199
Notesp. 221
Bibliographyp. 235
Indexp. 247