On New Year’s Eve, 1964, Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan assembled his staff in his office to announce that they were going to help him write a report on African American families. The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, completed in March, 1965, became one of the most controversial documents of the twentieth century. Best known as the “Moynihan Report,” it launched the career of its author, who became a professor at Harvard University, a top adviser to President Nixon, and a four-term U.S. senator representing New York.
Moynihan wrote the report on his own initiative hoping to persuade White House officials that civil-rights legislation alone would not produce racial equality. He succeeded in getting President Johnson’s attention. On June 4, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson gave a major address at Howard University based largely on the Moynihan Report and co-written by Moynihan and Richard Goodwin. Echoing civil-rights leaders of the time, Johnson declared, “Freedom is not enough”: Equal citizenship for African Americans was incomplete without the ability to make a decent living.
However, the Johnson administration quickly disowned the Moynihan Report when it sparked heated debate after becoming public in August, 1965. Distracted by the Vietnam War, Johnson never followed up his stirring rhetoric at Howard with significant new policies. The Moynihan Report became a lightning rod for civil-rights activists frustrated with Johnson’s inaction.
Moreover, the report’s ambiguities and contradictions as well as Moynihan’s decision to discuss racial inequality primarily in terms of family structure produced confusion over its aims. Many liberals understood the report to advocate new policies to alleviate race-based economic inequalities. But conservatives found in the report a convenient rationalization for inequality; they argued that only racial self-help could produce the necessary changes in family structure. Some even used the report to reinforce racist stereotypes about loose family morality among African Americans. Meanwhile, left-wing critics attacked Moynihan for distracting attention from ongoing systemic racism by focusing on African Americans’ family characteristics: Moynihan’s leading critic, William Ryan, famously charged him with “blaming the victim.”
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The Moynihan Report is a historical artifact best understood in the context of its time. Yet it remains relevant today amidst current discussion of why racial inequality persists despite the passage of civil-rights legislation. Even those who do not see the report’s analysis as pertinent to the present can learn how it shaped contemporary discourse. Fifty years later, the Moynihan Report is still a contested symbol among American thinkers and policymakers, cited by everyone from Barack Obama to Paul Ryan. Earlier this month, New York City’s police commissioner and mayor publicly sparred over the report with the former calling it “prescient” and the latter dismissing it as outdated. Liberals and conservatives alike praise the report’s analysis, but it is still anathema to many on the Left.
To aid readers interested in exploring the report and the issues it raises, The Atlantic is publishing this annotated copy of The Negro Family. Please note that this version differs from the original in that many of the report’s tables and charts are not reproduced.
The Negro Family:
The Case For National Action
Office of Policy Planning and Research
United States Department of Labor
The United States is approaching a new crisis in race relations. Moynihan began his report in deliberately jarring fashion by warning of a “new crisis in race relations.” His audience was top White House officials whom he feared were convinced that civil-rights legislation alone would bring about racial equality.
In the decade that began with the school desegregation decision of the Supreme Court, and ended with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed racial discrimination as well as discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, or national origin. It was the legislative death-knell for the system of Jim Crow segregation that had prevailed in the South since the late 19th century, the demand of Negro Americans for full recognition of their civil rights was finally met.
The effort, no matter how savage and brutal, of some State and local governments to thwart the exercise of those rights is doomed. The nation will not put up with it—least of all the Negroes. The present moment will pass. In the meantime, a new period is beginning. Moynihan’s confidence that African Americans would soon enjoy equal legal rights alarmed some civil-rights leaders, including one NAACP official who feared that the Moynihan Report gave the misimpression that the battle for civil rights was, “all over but the shouting.”
In this new period the expectations of the Negro Americans will go beyond civil rights. Being Americans, they will now expect that in the near future equal opportunities for them as a group will produce roughly equal results, as compared with other groups. This is not going to happen. Nor will it happen for generations to come unless a new and special effort is made.
There are two reasons. First, the racist virus in the American blood stream still afflicts us: Negroes will encounter serious personal prejudice for at least another generation. Second, three centuries of sometimes unimaginable mistreatment have taken their toll on the Negro people. The harsh fact is that as a group, at the present time, in terms of ability to win out in the competitions of American life, they are not equal to most of those groups with which they will be competing. Individually, Negro Americans reach the highest peaks of achievement. But collectively, in the spectrum of American ethnic and religious and regional groups, where some get plenty and some get none, where some send eighty percent of their children to college and others pull them out of school at the 8th grade, Negroes are among the weakest.
The most difficult fact for white Americans to understand is that in these terms the circumstances of the Negro American community in recent years has probably been getting worse, not better.
Indices of dollars of income, standards of living, and years of education deceive. The gap between the Negro and most other groups in American society is widening.
The fundamental problem, in which this is most clearly the case, is that of family structure. The evidence—not final, but powerfully persuasive—is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling. A middle class group has managed to save itself, but for vast numbers of the unskilled, poorly educated city working class the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated. There are indications that the situation may have been arrested in the past few years, but the general post war trend is unmistakable. So long as this situation persists, the cycle of poverty and disadvantage will continue to repeat itself.
The thesis of this paper is that these events, in combination, confront the nation with a new kind of problem. Measures that have worked in the past, or would work for most groups in the present, will not work here. A national effort is required that will give a unity of purpose to the many activities of the Federal government in this area, directed to a new kind of national goal: the establishment of a stable Negro family structure.
This would be a new departure for Federal policy. And a difficult one. But it almost certainly offers the only possibility of resolving in our time what is, after all, the nation's oldest, and most intransigent, and now its most dangerous social problem. What Gunnar MyrdalGunnar Myrdal was a Swedish economist hired by the Carnegie Corporation to study U.S. race relations. His 1944 book, An American Dilemma, remained the most prominent study of African Americans at the time Moynihan was writing. Myrdal’s optimism that American democracy could overcome the unjust treatment of African Americans influenced mid-20th-century liberals such as Moynihan. said in An American Dilemma remains true today: “America is free to chose whether the Negro shall remain her liability or become her opportunity.”
The Negro American revolution is rightly regarded as the most important domestic event of the postwar period in the United States.
Nothing like it has occurred since the upheavals of the 1930’s which led to the organization of the great industrial trade unions, and which in turn profoundly altered both the economy and the political scene. There have been few other events in our history—the American Revolution itself, the surge of Jacksonian Democracy in the 1830’s, the Abolitionist movement, and the Populist movement of the late 19th Century—comparable to the current Negro movement.
There has been none more important. The Negro American revolution holds forth the prospect that the American Republic, which at birth was flawed by the institution of Negro slavery, and which throughout its history has been marred by the unequal treatment of Negro citizens, will at last redeem the full promise of the Declaration of Independence.
Although the Negro leadership has conducted itself with the strictest propriety, acting always and only as American citizens asserting their rights within the framework of the American political system, it is no less clear that the movement has profound international implications. Like other policymakers, Moynihan weighed Cold War imperatives when considering African American rights. He worried that Communists used the mistreatment of African Americans as propaganda and damaged American efforts to influence new nations in Africa and Asia.
It was in no way a matter of chance that the nonviolent tactics and philosophy of the movement, as it began in the South, were consciously adapted from the techniques by which the Congress Party undertook to free the Indian nation from British colonial rule. It was not a matter of chance that the Negro movement caught fire in America at just that moment when the nations of Africa were gaining their freedom. Nor is it merely incidental that the world should have fastened its attention on events in the United States at a time when the possibility that the nations of the world will divide along color lines seems suddenly not only possible, but even imminent.
(Such racist views have made progress within the Negro American community itself—which can hardly be expected to be immune to a virus that is endemic in the white community. The Black Muslim doctrines, based on total alienation from the white world, exert a powerful influence. On the far left, the attraction of Chinese Communism can no longer be ignored.) Moynihan made a common liberal argument of the time that social reforms were needed to forestall the growth of African American radicalism. He especially worried about the Nation of Islam, a black- nationalist religion that rapidly gained membership in the early 1960s. Its one-time spokesperson, Malcolm X, drew attention with his barbed criticisms of American racism and rejection of nonviolent resistance in favor of self-defense. In pointing to the danger of “Chinese Communism,” Moynihan referred to the Revolutionary Action Movement, a Marxist-Leninist and black-nationalist organization founded in 1963
It is clear that what happens in America is being taken as a sign of what can, or must, happen in the world at large. The course of world events will be profoundly affected by the success or failure of the Negro American revolution in seeking the peaceful assimilation of the races in the United States. The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Dr. Martin Luther King was as much an expression of the hope for the future, as it was recognition for past achievement.
It is no less clear that carrying this revolution forward to a successful conclusion is a first priority confronting the Great Society. The Great Society was the name given to Lyndon Johnson’s domestic program and included civil rights legislation, Medicaid and Medicare, expanded support for the arts, and the War on Poverty. Moynihan thought Johnson’s antipoverty measures were too limited and hoped his report would make a case for expanding them. Moynihan especially favored stronger measures to reduce unemployment and family allowances that would provide every American family a guaranteed minimum annual income.
The End of the Beginning
The major events of the onset of the Negro revolution are now behind us.
The political events were three: First, the Negroes themselves organized as a mass movement. Their organizations have been in some ways better disciplined and better led than any in our history. They have established an unprecedented alliance with religious groups throughout the nation and have maintained close ties with both political parties and with most segments of the trade union movement. Second, the Kennedy-Johnson Administration committed the Federal government to the cause of Negro equality. This had never happened before. Third, the 1964 Presidential election was practically a referendum on this commitment: if these were terms made by the opposition, they were in effect accepted by the President.
The overwhelming victory of President Johnson must be taken as emphatic popular endorsement of the unmistakable, and openly avowed course which the Federal government has pursued under his leadership. Moynihan believed that Johnson’s 1964 landslide victory over Republican Barry Goldwater opened opportunities for new reform programs of the kind he hoped his report would stimulate.
The administrative events were threefold as well: First, beginning with the establishment of the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and on to the enactment of the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962, the Federal government has launched a major national effort to redress the profound imbalance between the economic position of the Negro citizens and the rest of the nation that derives primarily from their unequal position in the labor market. Second, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 Here Moynihan refers to the principal legislation of the War on Poverty, that established the Office of Economic Opportunity began a major national effort to abolish poverty, a condition in which almost half of Negro families are living. Third, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 marked the end of the era of legal and formal discrimination against Negroes and created important new machinery for combating covert discrimination and unequal treatment. (The Act does not guarantee an end to harassment in matters such as voter registration, but does make it more or less incumbent upon government to take further steps to thwart such efforts when they do occur.) The Voting Rights Act was signed into law in August, 1965. Moynihan assumed, perhaps too optimistically, that African Americans would soon enjoy full civil and political rights.
The legal events were no less specific. Beginning with Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, through the decade that culminated in the recent decisions upholding Title II of the Civil Rights Act, the Federal judiciary, led by the Supreme Court, has used every opportunity to combat unequal treatment of Negro citizens. It may be put as a general proposition that the laws of the United States now look upon any such treatment as obnoxious, and that the courts will strike it down wherever it appears.
The Demand for Equality
With these events behind us, the nation now faces a different set of challenges, which may prove more difficult to meet, if only because they cannot be cast as concrete propositions of right and wrong.
The fundamental problem here is that the Negro revolution, like the industrial upheaval of the 1930’s, is a movement for equality as well as for liberty. In this section, Moynihan registered the demands of the civil-rights movement for economic equality. Major civil-rights organizations advanced ambitious plans to combat poverty, which disproportionately affected African Americans. The 1963 March on Washington at which King delivered his “I have a dream” speech was for “Jobs and Freedom.” National Urban League leader Whitney Young, Jr., called in 1963 for a “Domestic Marshall Plan” to rebuild urban areas and close the economic gap between blacks and whites. Young’s proposal partly inspired Moynihan’s report.
Liberty and Equality are the twin ideals of American democracy. But they are not the same thing. Nor, most importantly, are they equally attractive to all groups at any given time nor yet are they always compatible, one with the other.
Many persons who would gladly die for liberty are appalled by equality. Many who are devoted to equality are puzzled and even troubled by liberty. Much of the political history of the American nation can be seen as a competition between these two ideals, as for example, the unending troubles between capital and labor.
By and large, liberty has been the ideal with the higher social prestige in America. It has been the middle class aspiration, par excellence. (Note the assertions of the conservative right that ours is a republic, not a democracy.) Equality, on the other hand, has enjoyed tolerance more than acceptance. Yet it has roots deep in Western civilization and “is at least coeval with, if not prior to, liberty in the history of Western political thought.”1
American democracy has not always been successful in maintaining a balance between these two ideals, and notably so where the Negro American is concerned. “Lincoln freed the slaves,” but they were given liberty, not equality. It was therefore possible in the century that followed to deprive their descendants of much of their liberty as well.
The ideal of equality does not ordain that all persons end up, as well as start out equal. In traditional terms, as put by Faulkner, “there is no such thing as equality per se, but only equality to: equal right and opportunity to make the best one can of one’s life within one’s capability, without fear of injustice or oppression or threat of violence,”2 But the evolution of American politics, with the distinct persistence of ethnic and religious groups, has added a profoundly significant new dimension to that egalitarian ideal. It is increasingly demanded that the distribution of success and failure within one group be roughly comparable to that within other groups. It is not enough that all individuals start out on even terms, if the members of one group almost invariably end up well to the fore, and those of another far to the rear. This is what ethnic politics are all about in America, and in the main the Negro American demands are being put forth in this now traditional and established framework.3
Here a point of semantics must be grasped. The demand for Equality of Opportunity has been generally perceived by white Americans as a demand for liberty, a demand not to be excluded from the competitions of life—at the polling place, in the scholarship examinations, at the personnel office, on the housing market. Liberty does, of course, demand that everyone be free to try his luck, or test his skill in such matters. But these opportunities do not necessarily produce equality: on the contrary, to the extent that winners imply losers, equality of opportunity almost insures inequality of results.
The point of semantics is that equality of opportunity now has a different meaning for Negroes than it has for whites. It is not (or at least no longer) a demand for liberty alone, but also for equality—in terms of group results. In Bayard Rustin's terms, “It is now concerned not merely with removing the barriers to full opportunity but with achieving the fact of equality.”4 By equality Rustin means a distribution of achievements among Negroes roughly comparable to that among whites. Bayard Rustin, the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, was a civil-rights leader and socialist who continuously linked racial equality to the right to earn a decent living. However, Moynihan misconstrued Rustin’s demand as insisting on parity between African Americans and whites. In fact, Rustin advocated extensive economic programs to combat poverty among all Americans as outlined in his $100 billion Freedom Budget unveiled with A. Philip Randolph in 1966, and endorsed by major civil-rights leaders. Rustin was an early critic of the Moynihan Report, claiming that it was “ambivalent about the basic reforms that are needed.”
As Nathan Glazer Nathan Glazer, a prominent sociologist, was an important influence on Moynihan’s understanding of American race relations. Glazer and Moynihan collaborated in writing the landmark Beyond the Melting Pot, a 1963 study of ethnoracial groups in New York City. The Moynihan Report was marked by Glazer’s arguments that American society was structured by competition between ethnoracial groups and that a group’s family structure significantly determined its level of economic achievement. has put it, “The demand for economic equality is now not the demand for equal opportunities for the equally qualified: it is now the demand for equality of economic results ... The demand for equality in education...has also become a demand for equality of results, of outcomes.”5 While Glazer thought demands for “equality of results” were illegitimate, Moynihan here accepted their validity. By advocating “equality of results” defined as roughly equal economic standing for African Americans, Moynihan offered a logical foundation for affirmative-action programs that later followed. Indeed, in a 1964 memo to Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz, Moynihan professed himself a believer in “quotas,” stating, “We have four centuries of exploitation to overcome and will not do so by giving Negroes an equal opportunity with whites who are now miles ahead.” President Johnson expressed a similar sentiment in his 1965 Howard University speech based on the Moynihan Report when he famously said, “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say ‘you are free to compete with all the others’ and then still justly believe that you have been fair.”
Some aspects of the new laws do guarantee results, in the sense that upon enactment and enforcement they bring about an objective that is an end in itself, e.g., the public accommodations titles of the Civil Rights Act.
Other provisions are at once terminal and intermediary. The portions of the Civil Rights Act dealing with voting rights will no doubt lead to further enlargements of the freedom of the Negro American.
But by and large, the programs that have been enacted in the first phase of the Negro revolution—Manpower Retraining, the Job Corps, Community Action, et al.—only make opportunities available. They cannot insure the outcome. By naming the principal programs of the War on Poverty and suggesting their inadequacy, Moynihan hinted at the need for new and expanded antipoverty programs as a solution to demands for racial equality.
The principal challenge of the next phase of the Negro revolution is to make certain that equality of results will now follow. If we do not, there will be no social peace in the United States for generations. Here Moynihan warned that failure to achieve economic equality for African Americans would lead to social disorder. His warning seemed prescient when his report became public just prior to the Watts Riots of August, 1965.
The Prospect for Equality
The time, therefore, is at hand for an unflinching look at the present potential of Negro Americans to move from where they now are to where they want, and ought to be.
There is no very satisfactory way, at present, to measure social health or social pathology within an ethnic, or religious, or geographical community. Data are few and uncertain, and conclusions drawn from them, including the conclusions that follow, are subject to the grossest error.* Nonetheless, the opportunities, no less than the dangers, of the present moment, demand that an assessment be made.
That being the case, it has to be said that there is a considerable body of evidence to support the conclusion that Negro social structure, in particular the Negro family, battered and harassed by discrimination, injustice, and uprooting, is in the deepest trouble. While many young Negroes are moving ahead to unprecedented levels of achievement, many more are falling further and further behind.
After an intensive study of the life of central Harlem, the board of directors of Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Inc. summed up their findings in one statement: “Massive deterioration of the fabric of society and its institutions...”6
It is the conclusion of this survey of the available national data, that what is true of central Harlem, can be said to be true of the Negro American world in general.
If this is so, it is the single most important social fact of the United States today.
* As much as possible, the statistics used in this paper refer to Negroes. However, certain data series are available only in terms of the white and nonwhite population. Where this is the case, the nonwhite data have been used as if they referred only to Negroes. This necessarily introduces some inaccuracies, but it does not appear to produce any significant distortions. In 1960, Negroes were 92.1 percent of all nonwhites. The remaining 7.9 percent is made up largely of Indians, Japanese, and Chinese. Moynihan wrote at a time when African Americans were overwhelmingly the largest racial minority in the U.S. The demography of the U.S. has radically changed since with mass immigration, especially from Asia and Latin America, sparked by the immigration-reform legislation passed in 1965, which eliminated race-based quotas. Moynihan, like many Americans at the time, tended to see American race relations in terms of black-and-white, despite the long-term presence of other groups. In a 1965 memo to President Johnson summarizing the report, however, he cited the success of Japanese and ChineseAmericans as proof that racial minorities in the U.S. could overcome past racial oppression. Moynihan cited the “close knit family structure” of Japanese- and ChineseAmericans as a cause of their success and as evidence of the need to strengthen African American families.
The combined male unemployment rates of these groups is lower than that of Negroes. In matters relating to family stability, the smaller groups are probably more stable. Thus 21 percent of Negro women who have ever married are separated, divorced, or their husbands are absent for other reasons. The comparable figure for Indians is 14 percent; Japanese, 7 percent; Chinese 6 percent. Therefore, the statistics on nonwhites generally understate the degree of disorganization of the Negro family and underemployment of Negro men.
At the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family. Moynihan claimed that family instability was the main reason why African Americans would fail to achieve equal results with other American groups. He traced the roots of the problems he perceived in African American family structure to slavery and past discrimination. However, because Moynihan argued that African Americans’ own characteristics, and not ongoing institutional racism, explained their failure to compete on equal terms, some critics charged him with “blaming the victim.”
It is the fundamental source of the weakness of the Negro community at the present time.
There is probably no single fact of Negro American life so little understood by whites. The Negro situation is commonly perceived by whites in terms of the visible manifestation of discrimination and poverty, in part because Negro protest is directed against such obstacles, and in part, no doubt, because these are facts which involve the actions and attitudes of the white community as well. It is more difficult, however, for whites to perceive the effect that three centuries of exploitation have had on the fabric of Negro society itself. Here the consequences of the historic injustices done to Negro Americans are silent and hidden from view. But here is where the true injury has occurred: unless this damage is repaired, all the effort to end discrimination and poverty and injustice will come to little.
The role of the family in shaping character and ability is so pervasive as to be easily overlooked. The family is the basic social unit of American life; it is the basic socializing unit. Moynihan’s assertion that the family was the basic unit of society derived in part from his Catholicism, which he credited with giving him the perspective that “family interests were perhaps the central objective of social policy”
By and large, adult conduct in society is learned as a child.
A fundamental insight of psychoanalytic theory, for example, is that the child learns a way of looking at life in his early years through which all later experience is viewed and which profoundly shapes his adult conduct. When Moynihan discussed the negative effects of family instability on childhood development, he wrote from personal experience. His father abandoned his family when Moynihan was 10 years old, which plunged the family from a comfortable middle-class life into a precarious existence during the Great Depression. Moynihan underwent psychotherapy to understand the effects of this childhood experience on his psyche.
It may be hazarded that the reason family structure does not loom larger in public discussion of social issues is that people tend to assume that the nature of family life is about the same throughout American society. The mass media and the development of suburbia have created an image of the American family as a highly standardized phenomenon. It is therefore easy to assume that whatever it is that makes for differences among individuals or groups of individuals, it is not a different family structure.
There is much truth to this; as with any other nation, Americans are producing a recognizable family system. Moynihan was writing at a time when most Americans accepted as he did the nuclear-family norm, even though many American families failed to conform to the ideal of a male breadwinner and female homemaker. But that process is not completed by any means. There are still, for example, important differences in family patterns surviving from the age of the great European migration to the United States, and these variations account for notable differences in the progress and assimilation of various ethnic and religious groups.7 A number of immigrant groups were characterized by unusually strong family bonds; these groups have characteristically progressed more rapidly than others. Here Moynihan reprised Glazer’s argument from Beyond the Melting Pot.
But there is one truly great discontinuity in family structure in the United States at the present time: that between the white world in general and that of the Negro American. By claiming that the main differences in American family structure were racial, Moynihan overlooked significant class differences. Some criticized Moynihan for failing to control for class when comparing white and black families.
The white family has achieved a high degree of stability and is maintaining that stability.
By contrast, the family structure of lower class Negroes is highly unstable, and in many urban centers is approaching complete breakdown.
N.b. There is considerable evidence that the Negro community is in fact dividing between a stable middle class group that is steadily growing stronger and more successful, and an increasingly disorganized and disadvantaged lower class group. There are indications, for example, that the middle class Negro family puts a higher premium on family stability and the conserving of family resources than does the white middle class family.8 The discussion of this paper is not, obviously, directed to the first group excepting as it is affected by the experiences of the second—an important exception. Moynihan clarifies here that he is writing specifically about lower-class families, a concern that anticipates later discussions by social scientists and journalists of an African American “underclass.” But because Moynihan’s report continually referred to “the Negro family” and his statistics were classified by race but not by class, he was criticized for not differentiating among African Americans. One civil-rights official complained that Moynihan “put all Negroes of all classes regardless of their economic, social, or cultural status together.”
There are two points to be noted in this context.
First, the emergence and increasing visibility of a Negro middle class may beguile the nation into supposing that the circumstances of the remainder of the Negro community are equally prosperous, whereas just the opposite is true at present, and is likely to continue so.
Second, the lumping of all Negroes together in one statistical measurement very probably conceals the extent of the disorganization among the lower-class group. If conditions are improving for one and deteriorating for the other, the resultant statistical averages might show no change. Further, the statistics on the Negro family and most other subjects treated in this paper refer only to a specific point in time. They are a vertical measure of the situation at a given movement. They do not measure the experience of individuals over time. Thus the average monthly unemployment rate for Negro males for 1964 is recorded as 9 percent. But during 1964, some 29 percent of Negro males were unemployed at one time or another. Similarly, for example, if 36 percent of Negro children are living in broken homes at any specific moment, it is likely that a far higher proportion of Negro children find themselves in that situation at one time or another in their lives.
Nearly a Quarter of Urban Negro Marriages Are Dissolved.
Nearly a quarter of Negro women living in cities who have ever married are divorced, separated, or are living apart from their husbands.
The rates are highest in the urban Northeast where 26 percent of Negro women ever married are either divorced, separated, or have their husbands absent.
On the urban frontier, the proportion of husbands absent is even higher. In New York City in 1960, it was 30.2 percent, not including divorces.
Among ever-married nonwhite women in the nation, the proportion with husbands present declined in every age group over the decade 1950-60 as follows: [chart not reproduced]
Although similar declines occurred among white females, the proportion of white husbands present never dropped below 90 percent except for the first and last age group.9
Nearly One-Quarter of Negro Births are now Illegitimate.
Both white and Negro illegitimacy rates have been increasing, although from dramatically different bases. The white rate was 2 percent in 1940; it was 3.07 percent in 1963. In that period, the Negro rate went from 16.8 percent to 23.6 percent. The numbers that so alarmed Moynihan have risen dramatically since. In 2010, 73 percent of non-Hispanic black children were born out of wedlock. However, 29 percent of non-Hispanic white children were also born out of wedlock, a higher percentage than for blacks at the time Moynihan was writing. Some praise Moynihan for his prescience in identifying family trends for African Americans; however, he was no doubt mistaken in assuming the stability of white family structures.
The number of illegitimate children per 1,000 live births increased by 11 among whites in the period 1940-63, but by 68 among nonwhites. There are, of course, limits to the dependability of these statistics. Moynihan’s statistics on out-of-wedlock births, which he employed despite the qualifications he noted, were controversial. The Bureau of Labor Statistics staff that helped compile the data warned Moynihan that different cultural standards meant that many white middle-class families hid illegitimate births while many lower-class blacks formed stable unions even when not legally married. The report’s most influential critic, William Ryan, repeated these charges and added that Moynihan neglected the facts that, as compared with whites, African Americans had reduced access to birth control, abortion, and adoption, and were more likely to lack the economic resources for marriage.
There are almost certainly a considerable number of Negro children who, although technically illegitimate, are in fact the offspring of stable unions. On the other hand, it may be assumed that many births that are in fact illegitimate are recorded otherwise. Probably the two opposite effects cancel each other out.
On the urban frontier, the nonwhite illegitimacy rates are usually higher than the national average, and the increase of late has been drastic.
In the District of Columbia, the illegitimacy rate for nonwhites grew from 21.8 percent in 1950, to 29.5 percent in 1964.
A similar picture of disintegrating Negro marriages emerges from the divorce statistics. Divorces have increased of late for both whites and nonwhites, but at a much greater rate for the latter. In 1940 both groups had a divorce rate of 2.2 percent. By 1964 the white rate had risen to 3.6 percent, but the nonwhite rate had reached 5.1 percent—40 percent greater than the formerly equal white rate.
Almost One-Fourth of Negro Families are Headed by Females
As a direct result of this high rate of divorce, separation, and desertion, a very large percent of Negro families are headed by females. While the percentage of such families among whites has been dropping since 1940, it has been rising among Negroes.
The percent of nonwhite families headed by a female is more than double the percent for whites. Fatherless nonwhite families increased by a sixth between 1950 and 1960, but held constant for white families.
Almost One-Fourth of Nonwhite Families Are Headed by a Woman
It has been estimated that only a minority of Negro children reach the age of 18 having lived all their lives with both of their parents.
Once again, this measure of family disorganization is found to be diminishing among white families and increasing among Negro families.
The Breakdown of the Negro Family Has Led to a Startling Increase in Welfare Dependency.
The majority of Negro children receive public assistance under the AFDC program at one point or another in their childhood. Commonly known as “welfare,” the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, originally Aid to Dependent Children (ADC), offered payments to mothers where fathers were absent. The program was already controversial at the time Moynihan was writing. Opposition to it would help fuel growing opposition to the liberal welfare state and eventually lead to the abolition of AFDC in 1996, which Moynihan adamantly opposed as a U.S. Senator. Moynihan’s concern about “welfare dependency” aided his report’s appeal to conservatives despite his advocacy of full male employment and family allowances as alternatives to welfare.
At present, 14 percent of Negro children are receiving AFDC assistance, as against 2 percent of white children. Eight percent of white children receive such assistance at some time, as against 56 percent of nonwhites, according to an extrapolation based on HEW data. (Let it be noted, however, that out of a total of 1.8 million nonwhite illegitimate children in the nation in 1961, 1.3 million were not receiving aid under the AFDC program, although a substantial number have, or will, receive aid at some time in their lives.)
Again, the situation may be said to be worsening. The AFDC program, deriving from the long established Mothers’ Aid programs, was established in 1935 principally to care for widows and orphans, although the legislation covered all children in homes deprived of parental support because one or both of their parents are absent or incapacitated.
In the beginning, the number of AFDC families in which the father was absent because of desertion was less than a third of the total. Today it is two thirds. HEW estimates “that between two thirds and three fourths of the 50 percent increase from 1948 to 1955 in the number of absent father families receiving ADC may be explained by an increase in broken homes in the population.”10
Cases Opened Under AFDC Compared With Unemployment Rate for Nonwhite Males
A 1960 study of Aid to Dependent Children in Cook County, Ill. stated:
“The ‘typical’ ADC mother in Cook County was married and had children by her husband, who deserted; his whereabouts are unknown, and he does not contribute to the support of his children. She is not free to remarry and has had an illegitimate child since her husband left. (Almost 90 percent of the ADC families are Negro.)"11
The steady expansion of this welfare program, as of public assistance programs in general, can be taken as a measure of the steady disintegration of the Negro family structure over the past generation in the United States.
The most perplexing question abut American slavery, which has never been altogether explained, and which indeed most Americans hardly know exists, has been stated by Nathan Glazer as follows: “Why was American slavery the most awful the world has ever known?”12 The only thing that can be said with certainty is that this is true: It was.
American slavery was profoundly different from, and in its lasting effects on individuals and their children, indescribably worse than, any recorded servitude, ancient or modern. The peculiar nature of American slavery was noted by Alexis de Tocqueville and others, but it was not until 1948 that Frank Tannenbaum, a South American specialist, pointed to the striking differences between Brazilian and American slavery. The notion that U.S. slavery was exceptionally inhumane was commonly accepted at the time Moynihan wrote but has since been convincingly disputed. The feudal, Catholic society of Brazil had a legal and religious tradition which accorded the slave a place as a human being in the hierarchy of society—a luckless, miserable place, to be sure, but a place withal. In contrast, there was nothing in the tradition of English law or Protestant theology which could accommodate to the fact of human bondage — the slaves were therefore reduced to the status of chattels — often, no doubt, well cared for, even privileged chattels, but chattels nevertheless.
Glazer, also focusing on the Brazil-United States comparison, continues.
“In Brazil, the slave had many more rights than in the United States: He could legally marry, he could, indeed had to, be baptized and become a member of the Catholic Church, his family could not be broken up for sale, and he had many days on which he could either rest or earn money to buy his freedom. The Government encouraged manumission, and the freedom of infants could often be purchased for a small sum at the baptismal font. In short: the Brazilian slave knew he was a man, and that he differed in degree, not in kind, from his master.”13
“[In the United States,] the slave was totally removed from the protection of organized society (compare the elaborate provisions for the protection of slaves in the Bible), his existence as a human being was given no recognition by any religious or secular agency, he was totally ignorant of and completely cut off from his past, and he was offered absolutely no hope for the future. His children could be sold, his marriage was not recognized, his wife could be violated or sold (there was something comic about calling the woman with whom the master permitted him to live a ‘wife’), and he could also be subject, without redress, to frightful barbarities—there were presumably as many sadists among slaveowners, men and women, as there are in other groups. The slave could not, by law, be taught to read or write; he could not practice any religion without the permission of his master, and could never meet with his fellows, for religious or any other purposes, except in the presence of a white; and finally, if a master wished to free him, every legal obstacle was used to thwart such action. This was not what slavery meant in the ancient world, in medieval and early modern Europe, or in Brazil and the West Indies.
“More important, American slavery was also awful in its effects. If we compared the present situation of the American Negro with that of, let us say, Brazilian Negroes (who were slaves 20 years longer), we begin to suspect that the differences are the result of very different patterns of slavery. Today the Brazilian Negroes are Brazilians; though most are poor and do the hard and dirty work of the country, as Negroes do in the United States, they are not cut off from society. They reach into its highest strata, merging there—in smaller and smaller numbers, it is true, but with complete acceptance—with other Brazilians of all kinds. The relations between Negroes and whites in Brazil show nothing of the mass irrationality that prevails in this country.”14
Stanley M. Elkins, drawing on the aberrant behavior of the prisoners in Nazi concentration camps, drew an elaborate parallel between the two institutions. Stanley Elkins was a leading historian of slavery. He argued that slavery stripped African Americans of agency and culture. Later in the 1960s, historians challenged Elkins’s work by emphasizing widespread acts of slave resistance and the persistence of an autonomous slave culture with African roots. Though Elkins himself had not speculated about slavery’s effects on contemporary African Americans, his work lost credibility because of its close association with the Moynihan Report.
This thesis has been summarized as follows by Thomas Pettigrew:
“Both were closed systems, with little chance of manumission, emphasis on survival, and a single, omnipresent authority. The profound personality change created by Nazi internment, as independently reported by a number of psychologists and psychiatrists who survived, was toward childishness and total acceptance of the SS guards as father-figures—a syndrome strikingly similar to the ‘Sambo’ caricature of the Southern slave. Nineteenth-century racists readily believed that the ‘Sambo’ personality was simply an inborn racial type. Yet no African anthropological data have ever shown any personality type resembling Sambo; and the concentration camps molded the equivalent personality pattern in a wide variety of Caucasian prisoners. Nor was Sambo merely a product of ‘slavery’ in the abstract, for the less devastating Latin American system never developed such a type.
“Extending this line of reasoning, psychologists point out that slavery in all its forms sharply lowered the need for achievement in slaves ... Negroes in bondage, stripped of their African heritage, were placed in a completely dependent role. All of their rewards came, not from individual initiative and enterprise, but from absolute obedience—a situation that severely depresses the need for achievement among all peoples. Most important of all, slavery vitiated family life ... Since many slaveowners neither fostered Christian marriage among their slave couples nor hesitated to separate them on the auction block, the slave household often developed a fatherless matrifocal (mother-centered) pattern.” Though there is no doubt that slavery hindered the ability of slaves to form stable families, the extent to which slavery imprinted a matrifocal family model on African Americans has been a contentious scholarly issue for the past 50 years. Debate over this issue has often been connected to the reception of the Moynihan Report. In 1977, Herbert Gutman published The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, in which he sought to refute Moynihan by proving the existence of deep-rooted kinship networks during slavery and the formation of male-headed nuclear families among African Americans after slavery. However, Gutman’s interpretation has since been disputed by scholars including the sociologist Orlando Patterson, who argue for the long-term damaging effects of slavery on African American family and social life.15
With the emancipation of the slaves, the Negro American family began to form in the United States on a widespread scale. But it did so in an atmosphere markedly different from that which has produced the white American family.
The Negro was given liberty, but not equality. Life remained hazardous and marginal. Of the greatest importance, the Negro male, particularly in the South, became an object of intense hostility, an attitude unquestionably based in some measure of fear.
When Jim Crow made its appearance towards the end of the 19th century, it may be speculated that it was the Negro male who was most humiliated thereby; the male was more likely to use public facilities, which rapidly became segregated once the process began, and just as important, segregation, and the submissiveness it exacts, is surely more destructive to the male than to the female personality. Keeping the Negro “in his place” can be translated as keeping the Negro male in his place: The female was not a threat to anyone. Moynihan’s almost exclusive concern with African American men overlooked the combination of racial and gender oppression faced by African American women. African American feminists sharply disputed this aspect of the Moynihan Report.
Unquestionably, these events worked against the emergence of a strong father figure. The very essence of the male animal, from the bantam rooster to the four star general, is to strut. Moynihan’s assertion of the need of all males to “strut” was widely reported in the media in 1965 and later helped earn his report the scorn of feminists.
Indeed, in 19th century America, a particular type of exaggerated male boastfulness became almost a national style. Not for the Negro male. The “sassy nigger[sic]” was lynched.
In this situation, the Negro family made but little progress toward the middle class pattern of the present time. Margaret Mead has pointed out that while “In every known human society, everywhere in the world, the young male learns that when he grows up one of the things which he must do in order to be a full member of society is to provide food for some female and her young.”16 This pattern is not immutable, however: it can be broken, even though it has always eventually reasserted itself.
“Within the family, each new generation of young males learn the appropriate nurturing behavior and superimpose upon their biologically given maleness this learned parental role. When the family breaks down—as it does under slavery, under certain forms of indentured labor and serfdom, in periods of extreme social unrest during wars, revolutions, famines, and epidemics, or in periods of abrupt transition from one type of economy to another—this delicate line of transmission is broken. Men may founder badly in these periods, during which the primary unit may again become mother and child, the biologically given, and the special conditions under which man has held his social traditions in trust are violated and distorted.”17
E. Franklin Frazier At the time Moynihan was writing, E. Franklin Frazier was the most influential scholar on African American families, though he had died in 1962. Moynihan titled his report The Negro Family as a tribute to Frazier, whose most famous work was entitled The Negro Family in the United States (1939). Moynihan followed Frazier in linking the struggles of African American families to slavery, Jim Crow, urbanization, and unemployment. However, Moynihan lacked Frazier’s concern with the lived experiences of African American families, his interest in the heterogeneity of black family structures, or his socialist critique of American society. Moynihan’s heavy use of Frazier forever changed the reception of Frazier’s scholarship. makes clear that at the time of emancipation Negro women were already “accustomed to playing the dominant role in family and marriage relations” and that this role persisted in the decades of rural life that followed.
Country life and city life are profoundly different. The gradual shift of American society from a rural to an urban basis over the past century and a half has caused abundant strains, many of which are still much in evidence. When this shift occurs suddenly, drastically, in one or two generations, the effect is immensely disruptive of traditional social patterns. It was this abrupt transition that produced the wild Irish slums of the 19th Century Northeast. Moynihan, trading on his IrishAmerican heritage, frequently compared African American ghettoes to 19th-century Irish slums, a subject he wrote about in Beyond the Melting Pot. Using stereotypical terms for Irish and African Americans, he even proclaimed in a 1967 Time interview, “Paddy and Sambo are the same people.”
Drunkenness, crime, corruption, discrimination, family disorganization, juvenile delinquency were the routine of that era. In our own time, the same sudden transition has produced the Negro slum—different from, but hardly better than its predecessors, and fundamentally the result of the same process.
Negroes are now more urbanized than whites. Moynihan was writing toward the end of the Great Migration, the period between 1910 and 1970 that saw six million African Americans leave the rural South for the cities of the Northeast, Midwest, and West. The decline of Southern agriculture and the growth of industrial jobs fueled this mass migration.
Negro families in the cities are more frequently headed by a woman than those in the country. The difference between the white and Negro proportions of families headed by a woman is greater in the city than in the country.
The promise of the city has so far been denied the majority of Negro migrants, and most particularly the Negro family.
In 1939, E. Franklin Frazier described its plight movingly in that part of The Negro Family entitled “In the City of Destruction”:
“The impact of hundreds of thousands of rural southern Negroes upon northern metropolitan communities presents a bewildering spectacle. Striking contrasts in levels of civilization and economic well being among these newcomers to modern civilization seem to baffle any attempt to discover order and direction in their mode of life.”18
“In many cases, of course, the dissolution of the simple family organization has begun before the family reaches the northern city. But, if these families have managed to preserve their integrity until they reach the northern city, poverty, ignorance, and color force them to seek homes in deteriorated slum areas from which practically all institutional life has disappeared. Hence, at the same time that these simple rural families are losing their internal cohesion, they are being freed from the controlling force of public opinion and communal institutions. Family desertion among Negroes in cities appears, then, to be one of the inevitable consequences of the impact of urban life on the simple family organization and folk culture which the Negro has evolved in the rural South. The distribution of desertions in relation to the general economic and cultural organization of Negro communities that have grown up in our American cities shows in a striking manner the influence of selective factors in the process of adjustment to the urban environment.”19
Frazier concluded his classic study, The Negro Family, with the prophesy that the “travail of civilization is not yet ended.”
“First, it appears that the family which evolved within the isolated world of the Negro folk will become increasingly disorganized. Frazier wrote of family “disorganization” in terms of the tradition of Chicago School of Sociology from which he descended. “Disorganization” meant the unsettling of a group’s own norms due to changes in its environment such as migration, and it implied no moral judgment. However, when Moynihan used the term “disorganization” in the report, he tended to judge any family “disorganized” that did not meet the male-breadwinner model. Critics of Moynihan often accused him of unfairly judging working-class African American families by the cultural standards of middle-class white Americans.
Modern means of communication will break down the isolation of the world of the black folk, and, as long as the bankrupt system of southern agriculture exists, Negro families will continue to seek a living in the towns and cities of the country. They will crowd the slum areas of southern cities or make their way to northern cities where their family life will become disrupted and their poverty will force them to depend upon charity.”20
In every index of family pathology—divorce, separation, and desertion, female family head, children in broken homes, and illegitimacy—the contrast between the urban and rural environment for Negro families is unmistakable.
Harlem, into which Negroes began to move early in this century, is the center and symbol of the urban life of the Negro American. Conditions in Harlem are not worse, they are probably better than in most Negro ghettos. The social disorganization of central Harlem, comprising ten health areas, was thoroughly documented by the HARYOU report, save for the illegitimacy rates. These have now been made available to the Labor Department by the New York City Department of Health. There could hardly be a more dramatic demonstration of the crumbling—the breaking—of the family structure on the urban frontier.
Unemployment and Poverty
The impact of unemployment on the Negro family, and particularly on the Negro male, is the least understood of all the developments that have contributed to the present crisis. There is little analysis because there has been almost no inquiry. Unemployment, for whites and nonwhites alike, has on the whole been treated as an economic phenomenon, with almost no attention paid for at least a quarter-century to social and personal consequences. Moynihan wrote The Negro Family in part to highlight the negative social effects of unemployment, a key concern of the Department of Labor that issued his report. Moynihan specifically worried about male unemployment and the effects of male-breadwinner absence on families. He subscribed to the “family wage” ideology common among mid-century liberals, built around the belief that men were entitled to jobs that would enable them to be the primary supporters of wives and children.
In 1940, Edward Wight Bakke Bakke was a Yale University professor of sociology and economics best known for his Depression-era studies of the effects of unemployment conducted in New Haven, Connecticut described the effects of unemployment on family structure in terms of six stages of adjustment.21 Although the families studied were white, the pattern would clearly seem to be a general one, and apply to Negro families as well.
The first two stages end with the exhaustion of credit and the entry of the wife into the labor force. The father is no longer the provider and the elder children become resentful.
The third stage is the critical one of commencing a new day to day existence. At this point two women are in charge:
“Consider the fact that relief investigators or case workers are normally women and deal with the housewife. Already suffering a loss in prestige and authority in the family because of his failure to be the chief bread winner, the male head of the family feels deeply this obvious transfer of planning for the family's well being to two women, one of them an outsider. His role is reduced to that of errand boy to and from the relief office.”22
If the family makes it through this stage Bakke finds that it is likely to survive, and the rest of the process is one of adjustment. The critical element of adjustment was not welfare payments, but work.
“Having observed our families under conditions of unemployment with no public help, or with that help coming from direct [sic] and from work relief, we are convinced that after the exhaustion of self produced resources, work relief is the only type of assistance which can restore the strained bonds of family relationship in a way which promises the continued functioning of that family in meeting the responsibilities imposed upon it by our culture.”23
Work is precisely the one thing the Negro family head in such circumstances has not received over the past generation.*
The fundamental, overwhelming fact is that Negro unemployment, with the exception of a few years during World War II and the Korean War, has continued at disaster levels for 35 years.
Once again, this is particularly the case in the northern urban areas to which the Negro population has been moving.
The 1930 Census (taken in the spring, before the depression was in full swing) showed Negro unemployment at 6.1 percent, as against 6.6 percent for whites. But taking out the South reversed the relationship: white 7.4 percent, nonwhite 11.5 percent.
By 1940, the 2 to 1 white-Negro unemployment relationship that persists to this day had clearly emerged. Taking out the South again, whites were 14.8 percent, nonwhites 29.7 percent. The unemployment rates for African Americans continue to be roughly double those of whites to the present day. In July, 2015, for example, the African American unemployment rate was 10.2 percent while the white rate was 4.7 percent. Since 1929, the Negro worker has been tremendously affected by the movements of the business cycle and of employment. He has been hit worse by declines than whites, and proportionately helped more by recoveries.
From 1951 to 1963, the level of the Negro male unemployment was on a long run rising trend, while at the same time following the short run ups and downs of the business cycle. During the same period, the number of broken families in the Negro world was also on a long run rise, with intermediate ups and downs.
A glance at the chart on page 22 reveals that the series move in the same directions—up and down together, with a long run rising trend—but that the peaks and troughs are 1 year out of phase. Thus unemployment peaks 1 year before broken families, and so on. By plotting these series in terms of deviation from trend, and moving the unemployment curve 1 year ahead, we see the clear relation of the two otherwise seemingly unrelated series of events; the cyclical swings in unemployment have their counterpart in increases and decreases in separations. This crucial finding of the Moynihan Report infers that family instability results from unemployment. It suggests that government can best strengthen African American families by improving employment opportunities for black men.
The effect of recession unemployment on divorces further illustrates the economic roots of the problem. The nonwhite divorce rates dipped slightly in high unemployment years like 1954-55, 1958, and 1961-62. (See table 21 [not reproduced] on page 77).
Divorce is expensive: those without money resort to separation or desertion. While divorce is not a desirable goal for a society, it recognizes the importance of marriage and family, and for children some family continuity and support is more likely when the institution of the family has been so recognized.
The conclusion from these and similar data is difficult to avoid: During times when jobs were reasonably plentiful (although at no time during this period, save perhaps the first 2 years, did the unemployment rate for Negro males drop to anything like a reasonable level) the Negro family became stronger and more stable. As jobs became more and more difficult to find, the stability of the family became more and more difficult to maintain.
This relation is clearly seen in terms of the illegitimacy rates of census tracts in the District of Columbia compared with male unemployment rates in the same neighborhoods.
In 1963, a prosperous year, 29.2 percent of all Negro men in the labor force were unemployed at some time during the year. Almost half of these men were out of work 15 weeks or more.
The impact of poverty on Negro family structure is no less obvious, although again it may not be widely acknowledged. There would seem to be an American tradition, agrarian in its origins but reinforced by attitudes of urban immigrant groups, to the effect that family morality and stability decline as income and social position rise. Over the years this may have provided some consolation to the poor, but there is little evidence that it is true. On the contrary, higher family incomes are unmistakably associated with greater family stability—which comes first may be a matter for conjecture, but the conjunction of the two characteristics is unmistakable.
The Negro family is no exception. In the District of Columbia, for example, census tracts with median incomes over $8,000 had an illegitimacy rate one-third that of tracts in the category under $4,000.
The Wage System
The American wage system is conspicuous in the degree to which it provides high incomes for individuals, but is rarely adjusted to insure that family, as well as individual needs are met. Almost without exception, the social welfare and social insurance systems of other industrial democracies provide for some adjustment or supplement of a worker’s income to provide for the extra expenses of those with families. American arrangements do not, save for income tax deductions. Here Moynihan hints at his support for a system of family allowances like those adopted by many European nations in which every family is provided a guaranteed minimum income by the government with higher payments for larger families.
Unemployment Rate of Nonwhite Men Compared With Percent of Nonwhite Women Separated From Husbands
Comparison of Unemployment Rate, Nonwhite Males Aged 14 and Over With Percent of Nonwhite Married Women Separated From Their Husbands
Unemployment Rate for Nonwhite Males Aged 14 and Over vs. Percent of Nonwhite Married Women Separated From Their Husbands
The Federal minimum wage of $1.25 per hour $1.25 in 1965 was worth $9.47 in 2015 dollars. The minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $1.60 an hour ($10.90 in 2015 dollars). The current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. provides a basic income for an individual, but an income well below the poverty line for a couple, much less a family with children.
The 1965 Economic Report of the President revised the data on the number of persons living in poverty in the United States to take account of the varying needs of families of different sizes, rather than using a flat cut off at the $3,000 income level. The resulting revision illustrated the significance of family size. Using these criteria, the number of poor families is smaller, but the number of large families who are poor increases, and the number of children in poverty rises by more than one third—from 11 million to 15 million. This means that one-fourth of the Nation's children live in families that are poor.24
A third of these children belong to families in which the father was not only present, but was employed the year round. In overall terms, median family income is lower for large families than for small families. Families of six or more children have median incomes 24 percent below families with three. (It may be added that 47 percent of young men who fail the Selective Service education test come from families of six or more.)
During the 1950-60 decade of heavy Negro migration to the cities of the North and West, the ratio of nonwhite to white family income in cities increased from 57 to 63 percent. Corresponding declines in the ratio in the rural nonfarm and farm areas kept the national ratio virtually unchanged. But between 1960 and 1963, median nonwhite family income slipped from 55 percent to 53 percent of white income. The drop occurred in three regions, with only the South, where a larger proportion of Negro families have more than one earner, showing a slight improvement.
Because in general terms Negro families have the largest number of children and the lowest incomes, many Negro fathers literally cannot support their families. Because the father is either not present, is unemployed, or makes such a low wage, the Negro woman goes to work. Fifty six percent of Negro women, age 25 to 64, are in the work force, against 42 percent of white women. This dependence on the mother's income undermines the position of the father and deprives the children of the kind of attention, particularly in school matters, which is now a standard feature of middle-class upbringing. Moynihan believed that fathers should earn incomes sufficient for mothers of young children to focus on raising their children, though he supported women working outside the home before they had children and after their children had grown up. Moynihan viewed the inability of many African American women to be stay-at-home mothers for economic reasons as a form of racial injustice.
The Dimensions Grow
The dimensions of the problems of Negro Americans are compounded by the present extraordinary growth in Negro population. At the founding of the nation, and into the first decade of the 19th century, 1 American in 5 was a Negro. The proportion declined steadily until it was only 1 in 10 by 1920, where it held until the 1950’s, when it began to rise. Since 1950, the Negro population has grown at a rate of 2.4 percent per year compared with 1.7 percent for the total population. If this rate continues, in seven years 1 American in 8 will be nonwhite.
These changes are the result of a declining Negro death rate, now approaching that of the nation generally, and a fertility rate that grew steadily during the postwar period. By 1959, the ratio of white to nonwhite fertility rates reached 1:1.42. Both the white and nonwhite fertility rates have declined since 1959, but the differential has not narrowed.
Family size increased among nonwhite families between 1950 and 1960—as much for those without fathers as for those with fathers. Average family size changed little among white families, with a slight increase in the size of husband-wife families balanced by a decline in the size of families without fathers.
Negro women not only have more children, but have them earlier. Thus in 1960, there were 1,247 children ever born per thousand ever-married nonwhite women 15 to 19 years of age, as against only 725 among white women, a ratio of 1.7:1. The Negro fertility rate overall is now 1.4 times the white, but what might be called the generation rate is 1.7 times the white.
This population growth must inevitably lead to an unconcealable crisis in Negro unemployment. The most conspicuous failure of the American social system in the past 10 years has been its inadequacy in providing jobs for Negro youth. Thus, in January 1965 the unemployment rate for Negro teenagers stood at 29 percent. This problem will now become steadily more serious.
During the rest of the 1960’s the nonwhite civilian population 14 years of age and over will increase by 20 percent—more than double the white rate. The nonwhite labor force will correspondingly increase 20 percent in the next 6 years, double the rate of increase in the nonwhite labor force of the past decade.
As with the population as a whole, there is much evidence that children are being born most rapidly in those Negro families with the least financial resources. This is an ancient pattern, but because the needs of children are greater today it is very possible that the education and opportunity gap between the offspring of these families and those of stable middle-class unions is not closing, but is growing wider.
A cycle is at work; too many children too early make it most difficult for the parents to finish school. (In February, 1963, 38 percent of the white girls who dropped out of school did so because of marriage or pregnancy, as against 49 percent of nonwhite girls.)25 An Urban League study in New York reported that 44 percent of girl dropouts left school because of pregnancy.26
Low education levels in turn produce low income levels, which deprive children of many opportunities, and so the cycle repeats itself.
That the Negro American has survived at all is extraordinary—a lesser people might simply have died out, as indeed others have. That the Negro community has not only survived, but in this political generation has entered national affairs as a moderate, humane, and constructive national force is the highest testament to the healing powers of the democratic ideal and the creative vitality of the Negro people.
But it may not be supposed that the Negro American community has not paid a fearful price for the incredible mistreatment to which it has been subjected over the past three centuries. The Moynihan Report is a classic statement of what historian Daryl Scott in Contempt and Pity terms the “damage thesis”: the argument that African Americans were severely damaged socially, culturally, and psychologically by the effects of slavery and subsequent racism. Mid-century liberals such as Moynihan used damage imagery to elicit sympathy for African Americans among whites and support for anti-racist legislation. However, Scott argues that by playing upon white pity, proponents of the damage thesis failed to recognize African Americans as equal citizens. In the Black Power era of the late 1960 and early 1970s, many African Americans challenged the damage thesis and asserted the equality or superiority of African American culture; they often targeted the Moynihan Report. For example, writer Ralph Ellison, a critic of Moynihan, challenged the notion that African Americans were solely the products of white racism: “Can a people live and develop … for over three hundred years simply by reacting? Are American Negroes simply the creation of white men or have they at least helped to create themselves out of what they found around them?”
In essence, the Negro community has been forced into a matriarchal structure which, because it is too out of line with the rest of the American society, seriously retards the progress of the group as a whole, and imposes a crushing burden on the Negro male and, in consequence, on a great many Negro women as well.
There is, presumably, no special reason why a society in which males are dominant in family relationships is to be preferred to a matriarchal arrangement. However, it is clearly a disadvantage for a minority group to be operating on one principle, while the great majority of the population, and the one with the most advantages to begin with, is operating on another. This is the present situation of the Negro. Ours is a society which presumes male leadership in private and public affairs. The arrangements of society facilitate such leadership and reward it. A subculture, such as that of the Negro American, in which this is not the pattern, is placed at a distinct disadvantage. Moynihan offered different explanations for the superiority of the male-headed family at different points in his report. His argument here that “matriarchal” family structure was a problem only because it was “out of line” with mainstream norms conflicted with his earlier argument in Chapter Two that men were biologically best suited for breadwinner roles.
Here an earlier word of caution should be repeated. These is much evidence that a considerable number of Negro families have managed to break out of the tangle of pathology and to establish themselves as stable, effective units, living according to patterns of American society in general. E. Franklin Frazier has suggested that the middle-class Negro American family is, if anything, more patriarchal and protective of its children than the general run of such families.27 Given equal opportunities, the children of these families will perform as well or better than their white peers. They need no help from anyone, and ask none.
While this phenomenon is not easily measured, one index is that middle class Negroes have even fewer children than middle class whites, indicating a desire to conserve the advances they have made and to insure that their children do as well or better. Negro women who marry early to uneducated laborers have more children than white women in the same situation; Negro women who marry at the common age for the middle class to educated men doing technical or professional work have only four fifths as many children as their white counterparts.
It might be estimated that as much as half of the Negro community falls into the middle class. However, the remaining half is in desperate and deteriorating circumstances. Moreover, because of housing segregation it is immensely difficult for the stable half to escape from the cultural influences of the unstable one. The children of middle class Negroes often as not must grow up in, or next to the slums, an experience almost unknown to white middle class children. They are therefore constantly exposed to the pathology of the disturbed group and constantly in danger of being drawn into it. It is for this reason that the propositions put forth in this study may be thought of as having a more or less general application.
In a word, most Negro youth are in danger of being caught up in the tangle of pathology that affects their world, and probably a majority are so entrapped. Many of those who escape do so for one generation only: as things now are, their children may have to run the gauntlet all over again. That is not the least vicious aspect of the world that white America has made for the Negro.
Obviously, not every instance of social pathology afflicting the Negro community can be traced to the weakness of family structure. If, for example, organized crime in the Negro community were not largely controlled by whites, there would be more capital accumulation among Negroes, and therefore probably more Negro business enterprises. If it were not for the hostility and fear many whites exhibit toward Negroes, they in turn would be less afflicted by hostility and fear and so on. There is no one Negro community. There is no one Negro problem. There is no one solution. Nonetheless, at the center of the tangle of pathology is the weakness of the family structure. Once or twice removed, it will be found to be the principal source of most of the aberrant, inadequate, or antisocial behavior that did not establish, but now serves to perpetuate the cycle of poverty and deprivation. Moynihan borrowed the phrase “tangle of pathology” from the African American psychologist Kenneth Clark, who used it to refer to the interrelated social ills that afflicted African American ghettoes. Though Clark pinpointed “matriarchal” family structure as a source of social pathology, unlike Moynihan, he did not see family as the principal cause of the tangle of pathology. The term “pathology” was frequently used by social experts to refer to the social problems of a community. Those such as Clark and Moynihan who stressed African American “pathology” were sharply challenged during the Black Power Era when many celebrated the virtues of African American culture as with the slogan, “Black is beautiful.”
It was by destroying the Negro family under slavery that white America broke the will of the Negro people. Although that will has reasserted itself in our time, it is a resurgence doomed to frustration unless the viability of the Negro family is restored.
Matriarchy Moynihan employed the term “matriarchy,” also used by respected analysts of African American families such as E. Franklin Frazier and Kenneth Clark, to underscore black men’s lack of authority and position, though he could not support its literal definition of a family or society in which power lay primarily in women’s hands. By the end of the 1960s, the Moynihan Report came under sharp attack for its advancement of what critics called the “myth of the Black Matriarchy.” Some criticized Moynihan for misrepresenting African American men as weak, while others, especially some feminists, suggested that relatively egalitarian gender roles among African Americans were preferable to the patriarchal model.
A fundamental fact of Negro American family life is the often reversed roles of husband and wife. Moynihan argues here that not only are families headed by single mothers a problem, so too are intact families in which women are dominant. The 1960 study by Robert Blood and Donald Wolfe on which Moynihan relied to make his case about the “reversed roles of husband and wife” in African American households was utterly biased by open assumptions of male dominance: that “the husband’s work is his chief role in life” while the wife’s “work is seldom her major preoccupation.” When Moynihan writes of “reversed roles,” as when he writes of “matriarchy,” what he really means is the absence of patriarchy. Robert O. Blood, Jr. and Donald M. Wolfe, in a study of Detroit families, note that “Negro husbands have unusually low power,”28 and while this is characteristic of all low income families, the pattern pervades the Negro social structure: “the cumulative result of discrimination in jobs..., the segregated housing, and the poor schooling of Negro men.”29 In 44 percent of the Negro families studied, the wife was dominant, as against 20 percent of white wives. “Whereas the majority of white families are equalitarian, the largest percentage of Negro families are dominated by the wife.”30
The matriarchal pattern of so many Negro families reinforces itself over the generations. This process begins with education. Although the gap appears to be closing at the moment, for a long while, Negro females were better educated than Negro males, and this remains true today for the Negro population as a whole.
The difference in educational attainment between nonwhite men and women in the labor force is even greater; men lag 1.1 years behind women.
The disparity in educational attainment of male and female youth 16 to 21 who were out of school in February, 1963, is striking. Among the nonwhite males, 66.3 percent were not high school graduates, compared with 55.0 percent of the females. A similar difference existed at the college level, with 4.5 percent of the males having completed 1 to 3 years of college compared with 7.3 percent of the females.
The poorer performance of the male in school exists from the very beginning, and the magnitude of the difference was documented by the 1960 Census in statistics on the number of children who have fallen one or more grades below the typical grade for children of the same age. The boys have more frequently fallen behind at every age level. (White boys also lag behind white girls, but at a differential of 1 to 6 percentage points.)
In 1960, 39 percent of all white persons 25 years of age and over who had completed 4 or more years of college were women. Fifty-three percent of the nonwhites who had attained this level were women.
However, the gap is closing. By October 1963, there were slightly more Negro men in college than women. Among whites there were almost twice as many men as women enrolled.
There is much evidence that Negro females are better students than their male counterparts.
Daniel Thompson of Dillard University Daniel Thompson was an African American sociologist whom Moynihan consulted during the writing of his report., in a private communication on January 9, 1965, writes:
“As low as is the aspirational level among lower class Negro girls, it is considerably higher than among the boys. For example, I have examined the honor rolls in Negro high schools for about 10 years. As a rule, from 75 to 90 percent of all Negro honor students are girls.”
Dr. Thompson reports that 70 percent of all applications for the National Achievement Scholarship Program financed by the Ford Foundation for outstanding Negro high school graduates are girls, despite special efforts by high school principals to submit the names of boys.
The finalists for this new program for outstanding Negro students were recently announced. Based on an inspection of the names, only about 43 percent of all the 639 finalists were male. (However, in the regular National Merit Scholarship program, males received 67 percent of the 1964 scholarship awards.)
Inevitably, these disparities have carried over to the area of employment and income.
In 1 out of 4 Negro families where the husband is present, is an earner, and someone else in the family works, the husband is not the principal earner. The comparable figure for whites is 18 percent.
More important, it is clear that Negro females have established a strong position for themselves in white collar and professional employment, precisely the areas of the economy which are growing most rapidly, and to which the highest prestige is accorded. Moynihan notes here that, as compared with African American women, African American men were economically vulnerable due to their overconcentration in industrial employment. The African American sociologist William Julius Wilson, who described himself as “following in the footsteps of Moynihan,” later pointed to the significance of deindustrialization for creating black male unemployment and thereby destabilizing African American families in his influential works The Declining Significance of Race (1979) and The Truly Disadvantaged (1987).
The President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, making a preliminary report on employment in 1964 of over 16,000 companies with nearly 5 million employees, revealed this pattern with dramatic emphasis.
“In this work force, Negro males outnumber Negro females by a ratio of 4 to 1. Yet Negro males represent only 1.2 percent of all males in white collar occupations, while Negro females represent 3.1 percent of the total female white collar work force. Negro males represent 1.1 percent of all male professionals, whereas Negro females represent roughly 6 percent of all female professionals. Again, in technician occupations, Negro males represent 2.1 percent of all male technicians while Negro females represent roughly 10 percent of all female technicians. It would appear therefore that there are proportionately 4 times as many Negro females in significant white collar jobs than Negro males.
“Although it is evident that office and clerical jobs account for approximately 50 percent of all Negro female white collar workers, it is significant that 6 out of every 100 Negro females are in professional jobs. This is substantially similar to the rate of all females in such jobs. Approximately 7 out of every 100 Negro females are in technician jobs. This exceeds the proportion of all females in technician jobs—approximately 5 out of every 100.
“Negro females in skilled jobs are almost the same as that of all females in such jobs. Nine out of every 100 Negro males are in skilled occupations while 21 out of 100 of all males are in such jobs.”31
This pattern is to be seen in the Federal government, where special efforts have been made recently to insure equal employment opportunity for Negroes. These efforts have been notably successful in Departments such as Labor, where some 19 percent of employees are now Negro. (A not disproportionate percentage, given the composition of the work force in the areas where the main Department offices are located.) However, it may well be that these efforts have redounded mostly to the benefit of Negro women, and may even have accentuated the comparative disadvantage of Negro men. Because Moynihan thought that stable families required male breadwinners, he believed that job opportunities should be reserved for African American men. Elsewhere, Moynihan imagined how his department’s hiring of black women skewed power relationships in their families: “You can stand in front of the Department of Labor any morning at eight-thirty and it is a sight: Spectacularly well-dressed, competent, beautiful [black] young women … spending the day on the phone with the Attorney General and seeing ambassadors, then coming home and asking the old man, what did you do today?” African American feminists were outraged that Moynihan endorsed increasing economic opportunities to African American men at the expense of jobs available to African American women. Pauli Murray complained, “It is bitterly ironic that Negro women should be censured for their efforts to overcome a handicap not of their own making.”
Seventy percent of the Negro employees of the Department of Labor are women, as contrasted with only 42 percent of the white employees.
Among nonprofessional Labor Department employees—where the most employment opportunities exist for all groups—Negro women outnumber Negro men 4 to 1, and average almost one grade higher in classification.
The testimony to the effects of these patterns in Negro family structure is wide spread, and hardly to be doubted.
Whitney Young Whitney M. Young, Jr. was Executive Director of the National Urban League. His comments below demonstrate that many civil-rights leaders agreed with Moynihan about the negative effects of African American “matriarchy” caused by the inability of many black men to serve as family breadwinners. Young publicly praised the Moynihan Report after it was released.
“Historically, in the matriarchal Negro society, mothers made sure that if one of their children had a chance for higher education the daughter was the one to pursue it.”32
“The effect on family functioning and role performance of this historical experience [economic deprivation] is what you might predict. Both as a husband and as a father the Negro male is made to feel inadequate, not because he is unlovable or unaffectionate, lacks intelligence or even a gray flannel suit. But in a society that measures a man by the size of his pay check, he doesn't stand very tall in a comparison with his white counterpart. To this situation he may react with withdrawal, bitterness toward society, aggression both within the family and racial group, self-hatred, or crime. Or he may escape through a number of avenues that help him to lose himself in fantasy or to compensate for his low status through a variety of exploits.”33
Thomas Pettigrew: Thomas Pettigrew, Professor of Social Psychology at Harvard University, was one of the era’s leading scholars on African Americans. His quote demonstrates that Moynihan’s understanding of African American families was widely accepted by academic experts at the time.
“The Negro wife in this situation can easily become disgusted with her financially dependent husband, and her rejection of him further alienates the male from family life. Embittered by their experiences with men, many Negro mothers often act to perpetuate the mother centered pattern by taking a greater interest in their daughters than their sons.”34
“In a matriarchal structure, the women are transmitting the culture.”35
Dorothy Height: As president of the National Council of Negro Women, Height headed the leading organization representing African American women. Height’s insistence here that the status of African American men was of primary concern—sharing Moynihan’s view—helps explain Moynihan’s later shock at how his report later became a target of feminist criticism.
“If the Negro woman has a major underlying concern, it is the status of the Negro man and his position in the community and his need for feeling himself an important person, free and able to make his contribution in the whole society in order that he may strengthen his home.”36
Duncan M. MacIntyre:
“The Negro illegitimacy rate always has been high—about eight times the white rate in 1940 and somewhat higher today even though the white illegitimacy rate also is climbing. The Negro statistics are symtomatic [sic] of some old socioeconomic problems, not the least of which are under employment among Negro men and compensating higher labor force propensity among Negro women. Both operate to enlarge the mother's role, undercutting the status of the male and making many Negro families essentially matriarchal. The Negro man's uncertain employment prospects, matriarchy, and the high cost of divorces combine to encourage desertion (the poor man's divorce), increases the number of couples not married, and thereby also increases the Negro illegitimacy rate. In the meantime, higher Negro birth rates are increasing the nonwhite population, while migration into cities like Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. is making the public assistance rolls in such cities heavily, even predominantly, Negro.”37
Robin M. Williams, Jr. in a Study of Elmira, New York:
“Only 57 percent of Negro adults reported themselves as married-spouse present, as compared with 78 percent of native white American gentiles, 91 percent of Italian-American, and 96 percent of Jewish informants. Of the 93 unmarried Negro youths interviewed, 22 percent did not have their mother living in the home with them, and 42 percent reported that their father was not living in their home. One third of the youth did not know their father's present occupation, and two-thirds of a sample of 150 Negro adults did not know what the occupation of their father's father had been. Forty percent of the youths said that they had brothers and sisters living in other communities: another 40 percent reported relatives living in their home who were not parents, siblings, or grandparent.”38
The Failure of Youth
Williams’ account of Negro youth growing up with little knowledge of their fathers, less of their fathers’ occupations, still less of family occupational traditions, is in sharp contrast to the experience of the white child. The white family, despite many variants, remains a powerful agency not only for transmitting property from one generation to the next, but also for transmitting no less valuable contracts with the world of education and work. In an earlier age, the Carpenters, Wainwrights, Weavers, Mercers, Farmers, Smiths acquired their names as well as their trades from their fathers and grandfathers. Children today still learn the patterns of work from their fathers even though they may no longer go into the same jobs.
White children without fathers at least perceive all about them the pattern of men working.
Negro children without fathers flounder—and fail.
Not always, to be sure. The Negro community produces its share, very possibly more than its share, of young people who have the something extra that carries them over the worst obstacles. But such persons are always a minority. The common run of young people in a group facing serious obstacles to success do not succeed.
A prime index of the disadvantage of Negro youth in the United States is their consistently poor performance on the mental tests that are a standard means of measuring ability and performance in the present generation.
There is absolutely no question of any genetic differential: Intelligence potential is distributed among Negro infants in the same proportion as among Icelanders or Chinese or any other group. American society, however, impairs the Negro potential. Despite Moynihan’s explicit rejection of race-based differences in intelligence, scientific racists used the Moynihan Report for their own purposes. Arthur Jensen cited it in his widely discussed 1969 article arguing that genetic differences in intelligence explained disparities between white and black educational achievement. Jensen’s finding was publicized in a 1971 article by Richard Herrnstein in The Atlantic. An editor’s note framed Herrnstein’s essay in term of the Moynihan Report, which had also “grappled with the idea that something within the black community itself was holding back its economic and educational advance.” Herrnstein later co-authored (with Charles Murray) the bestselling 1994 book The Bell Curve, which further advanced the notion that genetic differences explained racial inequality. Arguments for hereditary racial disparities in intelligence have no scientific basis, yet persist today.
The statement of the HARYOU report that “there is no basic disagreement over the fact that central Harlem students are performing poorly in school”39 may be taken as true of Negro slum children throughout the United States.
Eighth grade children in central Harlem have a median IQ of 87.7, which means that perhaps a third of the children are scoring at levels perilously near to those of retardation. IQ declines in the first decade of life, rising only slightly thereafter.
The effect of broken families on the performance of Negro youth has not been extensively measured, but studies that have been made show an unmistakable influence. By stressing family instability as a principal explanation for poor educational achievement among African American children, Moynihan anticipated the findings of the controversial 1966 “Coleman Report” written by sociologist James S. Coleman: a document commissioned by the Department of Education and officially titled Equality of Educational Opportunity. Coleman argued that disparities in educational resources was a not a significant reason why black schoolchildren failed to test as well as white schoolchildren. Moynihan championed the Coleman Report when it came under fire. Defending his own report, Moynihan cited Coleman’s finding that “the sources of inequality of educational opportunity appear to lie first in the home itself and the cultural influences immediately surrounding the home.”
Martin Deutch and Bert Brown, investigating intelligence test differences between Negro and white 1st and 5th graders of different social classes, found that there is a direct relationship between social class and IQ. As the one rises so does the other: but more for whites than Negroes. This is surely a result of housing segregation, referred to earlier, which makes it difficult for middle class Negro families to escape the slums.
The authors explain that “it is much more difficult for the Negro to attain identical middle or upper middle class status with whites, and the social class gradations are less marked for Negroes because Negro life in a caste society is considerably more homogeneous than is life for the majority group.”40
Therefore, the authors look for background variables other than social class which might explain the difference: “One of the most striking differences between the Negro and white groups is the consistently higher frequency of broken homes and resulting family disorganization in the Negro group.”41
Further, they found that children from homes where fathers are present have significantly higher scores than children in homes without fathers.
The influence of the father’s presence was then tested within the social classes and school grades for Negroes alone. They found that “a consistent trend within both grades at the lower SES [social class] level appears, and in no case is there a reversal of this trend: for males, females, and the combined group, the IQ's of children with fathers in the home are always higher than those who have no father in the home.”42
The authors say that broken homes “may also account for some of the differences between Negro and white intelligence scores.”43
The scores of fifth graders with fathers absent were lower than the scores of first graders with fathers absent, and while the authors point out that it is cross sectional data and does not reveal the duration of the fathers’ absence, “What we might be tapping is the cumulative effect of fatherless years.”44
This difference in ability to perform has its counterpart in statistics on actual school performance. Nonwhite boys from families with both parents present are more likely to be going to school than boys with only one parent present, and enrollment rates are even lower when neither parent is present.
When the boys from broken homes are in school, they do not do as well as the boys from whole families. Grade retardation is higher when only one parent is present, and highest when neither parent is present.
The loneliness of the Negro youth in making fundamental decisions about education is shown in a 1959 study of Negro and white dropouts in Connecticut high schools.
Only 29 percent of Negro male dropouts discussed their decision to drop out of school with their fathers, compared with 65 percent of the white males (38 percent of the Negro males were from broken homes). In fact, 26 percent of the Negro males did not discuss this major decision in their lives with anyone at all, compared with only 8 percent of white males.
A study of Negro apprenticeship by the New York State Commission Against Discrimination in 1960 concluded:
“Negro youth are seldom exposed to influences which can lead to apprenticeship. Negroes are not apt to have relatives, friends, or neighbors in skilled occupations. Nor are they likely to be in secondary schools where they receive encouragement and direction from alternate role models. Within the minority community, skilled Negro ‘models’ after whom the Negro youth might pattern himself are rare, while substitute sources which could provide the direction, encouragement, resources, and information needed to achieve skilled craft standing are nonexistent.”45 Mentorship is a key component of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program, announced in 2014 to help improve the lives and opportunities of young boys and men of color.
Delinquency and Crime
The combined impact of poverty, failure, and isolation among Negro youth has had the predictable outcome in a disastrous delinquency and crime rate.
In a typical pattern of discrimination, Negro children in all public and private orphanages are a smaller proportion of all children than their proportion of the population although their needs are clearly greater.
On the other hand Negroes represent a third of all youth in training schools for juvenile delinquents.
It is probable that at present, a majority of the crimes against the person, such as rape, murder, and aggravated assault are committed by Negroes. There is, of course, no absolute evidence; inference can only be made from arrest and prison population statistics. The data that follow [chart not reproduced] unquestionably are biased against Negroes, who are arraigned much more casually than are whites, but it may be doubted that the bias is great enough to affect the general proportions. Though acknowledging racial bias in crime reporting, Moynihan nevertheless treats arrest data as reliable. Moynihan hoped to convince readers that improving the economic position of African American men would help reduce crime, but his reference to violent black criminals evoked racist stereotypes.
Again on the urban frontier the ratio is worse: 3 out of every 5 arrests for these crimes were of Negroes.
In Chicago in 1963, three-quarters of the persons arrested for such crimes were Negro; in Detroit, the same proportions held.
In 1960, 37 percent of all persons in Federal and State prisons were Negro. In that year, 56 percent of the homicide and 57 percent of the assault offenders committed to State institutions were Negro.
The overwhelming number of offenses committed by Negroes are directed toward other Negroes: the cost of crime to the Negro community is a combination of that to the criminal and to the victim.
Some of the research on the effects of broken homes on delinquent behavior recently surveyed by Thomas F. Pettigrew in A Profile of the Negro American is summarized below, along with several other studies of the question.
Mary Diggs found that three-fourths—twice the expected ratio—of Philadelphia's Negro delinquents who came before the law during 1948 did not live with both their natural parents.46
In predicting juvenile crime, Eleanor and Sheldon Glueck also found that a higher proportion of delinquent than nondelinquent boys came from broken homes. They identified five critical factors in the home environment that made a difference in whether boys would become delinquents: discipline of boy by father, supervision of boy by mother, affection of father for boy, affection of mother for boy, and cohesiveness of family.
In 1952, when the New York City Youth Board set out to test the validity of these five factors as predictors of delinquency, a problem quickly emerged. The Glueck sample consisted of white boys of mainly Irish, Italian, Lithuanian, and English descent. However, the Youth Board group was 44 percent Negro and 14 percent Puerto Rican, and the frequency of broken homes within these groups was out of proportion to the total number of delinquents in the population.47
“In the majority of these cases, the father was usually never in the home at all, absent for the major proportion of the boy's life, or was present only on occasion.”
(The final prediction table was reduced to three factors: supervision of boy by mother, discipline of boy by mother, and family cohesiveness within what family, in fact, existed, but was, nonetheless, 85 percent accurate in predicting delinquents and 96 percent accurate in predicting nondelinquents.)
Researchers who have focussed [sic] upon the “good” boy in high delinquency neighborhoods noted that they typically come from exceptionally stable, intact families.48
Recent psychological research demonstrates the personality effects of being reared in a disorganized home without a father. One study showed that children from fatherless homes seek immediate gratification of their desires far more than children with fathers present.49 Others revealed that children who hunger for immediate gratification are more prone to delinquency, along with other less social behavior.50 Two psychologists, Pettigrew says, maintain that inability to delay gratification is a critical factor in immature, criminal, and neurotic behavior.51
Finally, Pettigrew discussed the evidence that a stable home is a crucial factor in counteracting the effects of racism upon Negro personality.
“A warm, supportive home can effectively compensate for many of the restrictions the Negro child faces outside of the ghetto; consequently, the type of home life a Negro enjoys as a child may be far more crucial for governing the influence of segregation upon his personality than the form the segregation takes—legal or informal, Southern or Northern.”52
A Yale University study of youth in the lowest socioeconomic class in New Haven in 1950 whose behavior was followed through their 18th year revealed that among the delinquents in the group, 38 percent came from broken homes, compared with 24 percent of nondelinquents.53
The President’s Task Force on Manpower Conservation in 1963 found that of young men rejected for the draft for failure to pass the mental tests, 42 percent of those with a court record came from broken homes, compared with 30 percent of those without a court record. Half of all the nonwhite rejectees in the study with a court record came from broken homes. Moynihan was the principal architect of the President’s Task Force on Manpower Conservation and main author of its 1963 report, One-Third of a Nation. The task force studied why a large percentage (roughly one-third) failed the Selective Service’s pre-induction exam and demonstrated that draft-board rejects faced broader employment problems. The work sensitized Moynihan to the problems faced by poor African American men, who formed a disproportionate percentage of draft rejects, and partly inspired him to write The Negro Family.
An examination of the family background of 44,448 delinquency cases in Philadelphia between 1949 and 1954 documents the frequency of broken homes among delinquents. Sixty two percent of the Negro delinquents and 36 percent of white delinquents were not living with both parents. In 1950, 33 percent of nonwhite children and 7 percent of white children in Philadelphia were living in homes without both parents. Repeaters were even more likely to be from broken homes than first offenders.54 Though Moynihan attributed crime to the decline of marriage and the rise in single-parent households, juvenile crime rates declined rapidly in the 1990s and 2000s despite declining marriage rates and an increased percentage of children born out of wedlock.
The Armed Forces
The ultimate mark of inadequate preparation for life is the failure rate on the Armed Forces mental test. Failure of the Armed Forces mental test was a significant reason why men were rejected for military service. The Armed Forces Qualification Test is not quite a mental test, nor yet an education test. It is a test of ability to perform at an acceptable level of competence. It roughly measures ability that ought to be found in an average 7th or 8th grade student. A grown young man who cannot pass this test is in trouble.
Fifty six percent of Negroes fail it.
This is a rate almost four times that of the whites.
The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines conduct by far the largest and most important education and training activities of the Federal Government, as well as provide the largest single source of employment in the nation.
Military service is disruptive in some respects. For those comparatively few who are killed or wounded in combat, or otherwise, the personal sacrifice is inestimable. But on balance service in the Armed Forces over the past quarter-century has worked greatly to the advantage of those involved. The training and experience of military duty itself is unique, the advantages that have generally followed in the form of the G.I. Bill, mortgage guarantees, Federal life insurance, Civil Service preference, veterans hospitals, and veterans pensions are singular, to say the least. Moynihan had personally benefitted through military service, as a naval officer who enlisted during World War II. The military paid for Moynihan’s undergraduate education though the Reserve Officers Training Corp and the G.I. Bill funded his Ph.D. study. Moynihan worried that African American men were disproportionately excluded from such benefits of military service.
Although service in the Armed Forces is at least nominally a duty of all male citizens coming of age, it is clear that the present system does not enable Negroes to serve in anything like their proportionate numbers. This is not a question of discrimination. Induction into the Armed Forces is based on a variety of objective tests and standards, but these tests nonetheless have the effect of keeping the number of Negroes disproportionately small.
In 1963 the United States Commission on Civil Rights reported that “A decade ago, Negroes constituted 8 percent of the Armed Forces. Today ... they continue to constitute 8 percent of the Armed Forces.”55
In 1964 Negroes constituted 11.8 percent of the population, but probably remain at 8 percent of the Armed Forces. Moynihan’s implicit call for more African American men to be recruited into the military is the most concrete policy suggestion in his report. This proposal acquired sinister overtones after the escalation of the Vietnam War in the summer of 1965, particularly given the disproportionate casualties borne by black soldiers in Vietnam (for example, one in four servicemen killed in combat in 1965 was African American). Moynihan’s call for more recruitment of African Americans shaped Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s Project 100,000, announced in 1966, which enabled those who failed the selective service exam to enter the military through a special training program. Though framed in terms of benefitting disadvantaged Americans, Project 100,000 in fact aimed mainly to recruit more soldiers to fight in Vietnam.
The significance of Negro under representation in the Armed Forces is greater than might at first be supposed. If Negroes were represented in the same proportions in the military as they are in the population, they would number 300,000 plus. This would be over 100,000 more than at present (using 1964 strength figures). If the more than 100,000 unemployed Negro men were to have gone into the military the Negro male unemployment rate would have been 7.0 percent in 1964 instead of 9.1 percent.
In 1963 the Civil Rights Commission commented on the occupational aspect of military service for Negroes. “Negro enlisted men enjoy relatively better opportunities in the Armed Forces than in the civilian economy in every clerical, technical, and skilled field for which the data permit comparison.”56
There is, however, an even more important issue involved in military service for Negroes. Service in the United States Armed Forces is the only experience open to the Negro American in which he is truly treated as an equal: not as a Negro equal to a white, but as one man equal to any other man in a world where the category “Negro” and “white” do not exist. If this is a statement of the ideal rather than reality, it is an ideal that is close to realization. In food, dress, housing, pay, work—the Negro in the Armed Forces is equal and is treated that way. Moynihan’s claim that African Americans were treated equally in the military was belied by the racial tensions that soon became evident in Vietnam as well as his own statistics that showed a disproportionately low percentage of African American officers.
There is another special quality about military service for Negro men: it is an utterly masculine world. Given the strains of the disorganized and matrifocal family life in which so many Negro youth come of age, the Armed Forces are a dramatic and desperately needed change: a world away from women, a world run by strong men of unquestioned authority, where discipline, if harsh, is nonetheless orderly and predictable, and where rewards, if limited, are granted on the basis of performance. Moynihan’s claim that the military offered African American men a reprieve from a damaging “matriarchal” culture was ridiculed by some feminists. Merillee Dolan, in a 1971 report commissioned by the National Organization for Women, mocked Moynihan for assuming “women are so terrible that it is a fantastic relief to get away from them.” “Never mind that the service is experiencing explosive racial problems,” she continued, “it is still better than being around women.”
The theme of a current Army recruiting message states it as clearly as can be: “In the U.S. Army you get to know what it means to feel like a man.”
At the recent Civil Rights Commission hearings in Mississippi a witness testified that his Army service was in fact “the only time I ever felt like a man.”
Yet a majority of Negro youth (and probably three quarters of Mississippi Negroes) fail the Selective Service education test and are rejected. Negro participation in the Armed Forces would be less than it is, were it not for a proportionally larger share of voluntary enlistments and reenlistments. (Thus 16.3 percent of Army sergeants are Negro.)
The term alienation may by now have been used in too many ways to retain a clear meaning, but it will serve to sum up the equally numerous ways in which large numbers of Negro youth appear to be withdrawing from American society.
One startling way in which this occurs is that the men are just not there when the Census enumerator comes around.
According to Bureau of Census population estimates for 1963, there are only 87 nonwhite males for every 100 females in the 30-to-34-year age group. The ratio does not exceed 90 to 100 throughout the 25-to-44-year age bracket. In the urban Northeast, there are only 76 males per 100 females 20-to-24-years of age, and males as a percent of females are below 90 percent throughout all ages after 14.
There are not really fewer men than women in the 20-to-40 age bracket. What obviously is involved is an error in counting: the surveyors simply do not find the Negro man. Donald J. Bogue and his associates, who have studied the Federal count of the Negro man, place the error as high as 19.8 percent at age 28; a typical error of around 15 percent is estimated from age 19 through 43.57 Preliminary research in the Bureau of the Census on the 1960 enumeration has resulted in similar conclusions, although not necessarily the same estimates of the extent of the error. The Negro male can be found at age 17 and 18. On the basis of birth records and mortality records, the conclusion must be that he is there at age 19 as well.
When the enumerators do find him, his answers to the standard questions asked in the monthly unemployment survey often result in counting him as “not in the labor force.” In other words, Negro male unemployment may in truth be somewhat greater than reported.
The labor force participation rates of nonwhite men have been falling since the beginning of the century and for the past decade have been lower than the rates for white men. In 1964, the participation rates were 78.0 percent for white men and 75.8 percent for nonwhite men. Almost one percentage point of this difference was due to a higher proportion of nonwhite men unable to work because of long-term physical or mental illness; it seems reasonable to assume that the rest of the difference is due to discouragement about finding a job.
If nonwhite male labor force participation rates were as high as the white rates, there would have been 140,000 more nonwhite males in the labor force in 1964. If we further assume that the 140,000 would have been unemployed, the unemployment rate for nonwhite men would have been 11.5 percent instead of the recorded rate of 9 percent, and the ratio between the nonwhite rate and the white rate would have jumped from 2:1 to 2.4:1.
Understated or not, the official unemployment rates for Negroes are almost unbelievable.
The unemployment statistics for Negro teenagers—29 percent in January 1965—reflect lack of training and opportunity in the greatest measure, but it may not be doubted that they also reflect a certain failure of nerve.
“Are you looking for a job?” Secretary of Labor Wirtz asked a young man on a Harlem street corner. "Why?" was the reply.
Richard A. Cloward and Robert Ontell have commented on the withdrawal in a discussion of the Mobilization for Youth project on the lower East Side of New York.
"What contemporary slum and minority youth probably lack that similar children in earlier periods possessed is not motivation but some minimal sense of competence.
“We are plagued, in work with these youth, by what appears to be a low tolerance for frustration. They are not able to absorb setbacks. Minor irritants and rebuffs are magnified out of all proportion to reality. Perhaps they react as they do because they are not equal to the world that confronts them, and they know it. And it is the knowing that is devastating. Had the occupational structure remained intact, or had the education provided to them kept pace with occupational changes, the situation would be a different one. But it is not, and that is what we and they have to contend with.”58
Narcotic addiction is a characteristic form of withdrawal. In 1963, Negroes made up 54 percent of the addict population of the United States. Although the Federal Bureau of Narcotics reports a decline in the Negro proportion of new addicts, HARYOU reports the addiction rate in central Harlem rose from 22.1 per 10,000 in 1955 to 40.4 in 1961.59
There is a larger fact about the alienation of Negro youth than the tangle of pathology described by these statistics. It is a fact particularly difficult to grasp by white persons who have in recent years shown increasing awareness of Negro problems.
The present generation of Negro youth growing up in the urban ghettos has probably less personal contact with the white world than any generation in the history of the Negro American.60
Until World War II it could be said that in general the Negro and white worlds live, if not together, at least side by side. Certainly they did, and do, in the South.
Since World War II, however, the two worlds have drawn physically apart. The symbol of this development was the construction in the 1940’s and 1950’s of the vast white, middle and lower middle class suburbs around all the Nation's cities. Increasingly the inner cities have been left to Negroes—who now share almost no community life with whites.
In turn, because of this new housing pattern—most of which has been financially assisted by the Federal government—it is probable that the American school system has become more, rather than less segregated in the past two decades. Moynihan here reflects on how federal government policy in terms of the subsidizing of mortgages for family homes and the building of highways encouraged “white flight” from the cities to the suburbs and created new forms of metropolitan racial segregation. He neglects to mention here the effects of redlining practices, not outlawed until 1968, that excluded most African Americans from enjoying the benefits of federallysubsidized housing mortgages.
School integration has not occurred in the South, where a decade after Brown v. Board of Education only 1 Negro in 9 is attending school with white children.
And in the North, despite strenuous official efforts, neighborhoods and therefore schools are becoming more and more of one class and one color.
In New York City, in the school year 1957-58 there were 64 schools that were 90 percent of more Negro or Puerto Rican. Six years later there were 134 such schools.
Along with the diminution of white middle class contacts for a large percentage of Negroes, observers report that the Negro churches have all but lost contact with men in the Northern cities as well. This may be a normal condition of urban life, but it is probably a changed condition for the Negro American and cannot be a socially desirable development.
The only religious movement that appears to have enlisted a considerable number of lower class Negro males in Northern cities of late is that of the Black Muslims: a movement based on total rejection of white society, even though it emulates whites more. Surprisingly, given Moynihan’s criticisms of the Nation of Islam (NOI) in the report, NOI leaders praised the report for giving “substance to some of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s [its leader] contentions and claims.” Muhammad Speaks, the organization’s newspaper, printed a five-part interview with Moynihan by Minister Louis Farrakhan, who later headed the NOI. While NOI leaders had long seen low marriage rates and high out-of-wedlock births as a problem among African Americans and saw their views confirmed in the report, they were sharply critical of other aspects of the report such as its call for recruiting more black men into the military.
In a word: the tangle of pathology is tightening.
The object of this study has been to define a problem, rather than propose solutions to it. We have kept within these confines for three reasons.
First, there are many persons, within and without the Government, who do not feel the problem exists, at least in any serious degree. These persons feel that, with the legal obstacles to assimilation out of the way, matters will take care of themselves in the normal course of events. This is a fundamental issue, and requires a decision within the government.
Second, it is our view that the problem is so inter-related, one thing with another, that any list of program proposals would necessarily be incomplete, and would distract attention from the main point of inter-relatedness. We have shown a clear relation between male employment, for example, and the number of welfare dependent children. Employment in turn reflects educational achievement, which depends in large part on family stability, which reflects employment. Where we should break into this cycle, and how, are the most difficult domestic questions facing the United States. We must first reach agreement on what the problem is, then we will know what questions must be answered. The absence of specific policy proposals helped feed controversy over the report as readers were confused about what Moynihan advocated. However, Moynihan offered several proposals in a May 4 memo summarizing his report to President Johnson: expanded military recruitment of African American men, housing programs to integrate the suburbs (so that middle-class African American families could escape the pathology of the ghetto), and voluntary birth control programs to lower the birth rate of African Americans. Above all, Moynihan advocated creating more jobs for African American men so that they could serve as family breadwinners. “We must not rest until every able-bodied Negro male is working,” Moynihan told Johnson, adding, “Even if we have to displace some Negro females.” Other than his proposal for military recruitment, Moynihan did not specify exactly how such jobs could be created. Though Moynihan favored New Deal-style public works programs in which the federal government directly employed those needing jobs, he omitted this suggestion because Johnson had already rejected public works programs as too expensive and contentious in planning the War on Poverty.
Third, it is necessary to acknowledge the view, held by a number of responsible persons, that this problem may in fact be out of control. This is a view with which we emphatically and totally disagree, but the view must be acknowledged. The persistent rise in Negro educational achievement is probably the main trend that belies this thesis. On the other hand our study has produced some clear indications that the situation may indeed have begun to feed on itself. It may be noted, for example, that for most of the post-war period male Negro unemployment and the number of new AFDC cases rose and fell together as if connected by a chain from 1948 to 1962. The correlation between the two series of data was an astonishing .91. (This would mean that 83 percent of the rise and fall in AFDC cases can be statistically ascribed to the rise and fall in the unemployment rate.) In 1960, however, for the first time, unemployment declined, but the number of new AFDC cases rose. In 1963 this happened a second time. In 1964 a third. This data pattern was perhaps the report’s most significant finding. James Q. Wilson dubbed it “Moynihan’s scissors” to reflect the scissor-shaped graph that showed AFDC cases rising despite a falling unemployment rate. Taking the rise of AFDC cases as proof of a growing number of female-headed families, this finding seemed to contradict Moynihan’s suggestions earlier in the report that reducing male unemployment would stabilize African American families. “Moynihan’s scissors” has appealed to conservatives for decades because it seemed to show that African American family structure could not be improved by liberal government policies and even implied that AFDC, by aiding unwed mothers, was harming families. However, Moynihan’s finding was suspect. As Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward pointing out in Regulating the Poor (1971), rising AFDC cases inadequately measured family break-up. In fact, welfare cases rose during the 1960s for several reasons including more of those eligible claiming benefits.
The possible implications of these and other data are serious enough that they, too, should be understood before program proposals are made. Rather than a “case for national action,” the report’s subtitle and chapter’s title, claiming that data needed to be understood before policies were formulated sounded more nearly a case for inaction. Moynihan here anticipated an argument commonly made by neoconservative critics of the Great Society: government policymakers lacked the knowledge to adequately address many social problems. Moynihan himself became a prominent neoconservative by the end of the 1960s. Though still advocating some social reforms including the Family Assistance Plan (a proposal to offer every American family a guaranteed annual income) he championed while in the Richard Nixon administration, Moynihan increasingly criticized overreaching efforts by government officials to solve social problems they did not fully understand.
However, the argument of this paper does lead to one central conclusion: Whatever the specific elements of a national effort designed to resolve this problem, those elements must be coordinated in terms of one general strategy.
What then is that problem? We feel the answer is clear enough. Three centuries of injustice have brought about deep-seated structural distortions in the life of the Negro American. At this point, the present tangle of pathology is capable of perpetuating itself without assistance from the white world. Moynihan’s identification of a self-perpetuating pathology evokes anthropologist Oscar Lewis’s contemporaneous analysis of a “culture of poverty” that trapped the poor in a cycle of deprivation. Notions of a self-perpetuating culture of poverty were originally used to argue for extensive social reforms that would attack the root causes of poverty, but they were later employed by conservatives to argue that poverty resulted from the faulty behaviors of the poor and could not be effectively alleviated by government programs.
The cycle can be broken only if these distortions are set right.
In a word, a national effort towards the problems of Negro Americans must be directed towards the question of family structure. The object should be to strengthen the Negro family so as to enable it to raise and support its members as do other families. After that, how this group of Americans chooses to run its affairs, take advantage of its opportunities, or fail to do so, is none of the nation's business.
The fundamental importance and urgency of restoring the Negro American Family structure has been evident for some time. E. Franklin Frazier put it most succinctly in 1950:
“As the result of family disorganization a large proportion of Negro children and youth have not undergone the socialization which only the family can provide. The disorganized families have failed to provide for their emotional needs and have not provided the discipline and habits which are necessary for personality development. Because the disorganized family has failed in its function as a socializing agency, it has handicapped the children in their relations to the institutions in the community. Moreover, family disorganization has been partially responsible for a large amount of juvenile delinquency and adult crime among Negroes. Since the widespread family disorganization among Negroes has resulted from the failure of the father to play the role in family life required by American society, the mitigation of this problem must await those changes in the Negro and American society which will enable the Negro father to play the role required of him.”61
Nothing was done in response to Frazier’s argument. Matters were left to take care of themselves, and as matters will, grew worse not better. The problem is now more serious, the obstacles greater. There is, however, a profound change for the better in one respect. The President has committed the nation to an all out effort to eliminate poverty wherever it exists, among whites or Negroes, and a militant, organized, and responsible Negro movement exists to join in that effort.
Such a national effort could be stated thus:
The policy of the United States is to bring the Negro American to full and equal sharing in the responsibilities and rewards of citizenship. To this end, the programs of the Federal government bearing on this objective shall be designed to have the effect, directly or indirectly, of enhancing the stability and resources of the Negro American family.No national effort resulted from the Moynihan Report. In his Howard University address based largely on the report, President Johnson called for a White House conference to discuss the next steps needed to achieve racial equality after the passage of civil rights legislation. White House officials originally planned the conference around the theme of “family,” but quickly reconfigured it in the face of opposition by civil-rights leaders who feared that exclusive focus on the family would distract from issues of civil-rights enforcement, housing, education, and employment. The conference, held in November 1965, was marked by poor organization and acrimonious debate over the Moynihan Report. Moynihan, having left the Johnson administration to run unsuccessfully for President of the New York City Council, was sidelined at the conference over administration concern about criticism of his report. The nation’s failure 50 years ago to adequately address the economic dimension of racial inequality helps explain the persistence of racial injustice and division today. Historians today debate whether the Moynihan Report offered a lost opportunity to address the deeper roots of African American inequality or whether it helped rationalize it.
1. Robert Harris, The Quest for Equality, (Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 1960), p. 4.
2. William Faulkner, in a speech before the Southern Historical Society in November, 1955, quoted in Mississippi: The Closed Society, by James W. Silver, (New York, Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc., 1964), p. xiii.
3. For a view that present Negro demands go beyond this traditional position see Nathan Glazer, "Negroes and Jews: The Challenge to Pluralism," Commentary, December 1964, pp. 29-34.
4. Bayard Rustin, "From Protest to Politics: The Future of the Civil Rights Movement," Commentary, February 1965, p. 27.
5. Nathan Glazer, op. cit., p. 34.
6. Youth in the Ghetto, Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Inc., New York, 1964, p. xi.
7. Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Beyond the Melting Pot, (MIT Press and Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1963), pp. 290-291.
8. E. Franklin Frazier, Black Bourgeoisie, (New York, Collier Books, 1962).
9. Furnished by Dr. Margaret Bright, in a communication on January 20, 1965.
10. Maurine McKeany, The Absent Father and Public Policy in the Program of Aid to Dependent Children, (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1960), p. 3.
11. "Facts, Fallacies and Future: A Study of the Aid to Dependent Children of Cook County, Illinois," (New York, Greenleigh Associates, Inc., 1960), p. 5.
12. Nathan Glazer, "Introduction," Slavery, Stanley M. Elkins, (New York, Grosset and Dunlap, 1963), p. ix.
13. Ibid., pp. xi-xii.
14. Ibid., pp. ix-x.
15. Thomas F. Pettigrew, A Profile of the Negro American, (Princeton, New Jersey, D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1964), pp. 13-14.
16. Margaret Mead, Male and Female, (New York, New American Library, 1962), p. 146.
17. Ibid., p. 148.
18. E. Franklin Frazier, The Negro Family in the United States, (Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1939), p. 298.
19. Ibid., pp. 340-341.
20. Ibid., p. 487.
21. Edward Wight Bakke, Citizens Without Work, (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1940).
22. Ibid., p. 212.
23. Ibid., p. 224.
24. Economic Report of the President, January 1965, p. 163.
25. Vera C. Perrella and Forrest A. Bogan, "Out of School Youth, February 1963," Special Labor Force Report, No. 46, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. Department of Labor.
26. Youth in the Ghetto, op. cit., p. 185.
27. E. Franklin Frazier, Black Bourgeoisie, (New York, Collier Books, 1962).
28. Robert O. Blood, Jr. and Donald M. Wolfe, Husbands and Wives: The Dynamics of Married Living, (Illinois, The Free Press of Glencoe, 1960), p. 34.
29. Ibid., p. 35.
31. Based on a preliminary draft of a report by the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity.
32. Whitney Young, To Be Equal, (New York, McGraw Hill Book Company, 1964), p. 25.
33. Ibid., p. 175.
34. Thomas F. Pettigrew, op. cit., p. 16.
35. Deton Brooks, quoted in The New Improved American by Bernard Asbell, (New York, McGraw Hill Book Company, 1965), p. 76.
36. Dorothy Height, in the Report of Consultation of Problems of Negro Women, President's Commission on the Status of Women, April 19, 1963, p. 35.
37. Duncan M. MacIntyre, Public Assistance: Too Much or Too Little? (New York, New York State School of Industrial Relations, Cornell University, Bulletin 53-1, December 1964), pp. 73-74.
38. Robin M. Williams, Jr., Strangers Next Door, (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1964), p. 240.
39. Youth in the Ghetto, op. cit., p. 195.
40. Martin Deutch and Bert Brown, "Social Influences in Negro-White Intelligence Differences," Social Issues, April 1964, p. 27.
41. Ibid., p. 29.
43. Ibid., p. 31.
45. "Negroes in Apprenticeship, New York State," Monthly Labor Review, September 1960, p. 955.
46. Mary H. Diggs, "Some Problems and Needs of Negro Children as Revealed by Comparative Delinquency and Crime Statistics,"Journal of Negro Education, 1950, 19, pp. 290-297.
47. Maude M. Craig and Thelma J. Glick, "Ten Year Experience with the Glueck Social Prediction Table," Journal of Crime and Delinquency, July 1963, p. 256.
48. F.R. Scarpitti, Ellen Murray, S. Dinitz and W.C. Reckless, "The 'Good' Boy in a High Delinquency Area: Four Years Later,"American Sociological Review, 1960, 25, pp. 555-558.
49. W. Mischel, "Father-Absence and Delay of Gratification: Cross-Cultural Comparisons," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1961, 63, 116-124.
50. W. Mischel, "Preference for Delayed Reinforcement and Social Responsibility," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1961, 62, pp. 1-7.
"Delay of Gratification, Need for Achievement, and Acquiescence in Another Culture," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1961, 62, pp. 543-552.
51. O.H. Mowrer and A.D. Ullman, "Time as a Determinant in Integrative Learning," Psychological Review, 1945, 52, pp. 61-90.
52. Thomas F. Pettigrew, op. cit., p. 22
53. Erdman Palmore, "Factors Associated with School Dropouts in Juvenile Delinquency Among Lower Class Children," Social Security Bulletin, October 1963, p. 6.
54. Thomas F. Monahan, "Family Status and the Delinquent Child," Social Forces, March 1957, p. 254.
55. Report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, September 1963, p. 173.
56. Ibid., p. 174.
57. Donald J. Bogue, Bhaskar D. Misra, and D.P. Dandekar, "A New Estimate of the Negro Population and Negro Vital Rates in the United States, 1930-1960," Demography, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1964, p. 350.
58. Richard A. Cloward and Robert Ontell, "Our Illusions about Training," American Child, January 1965, p. 7.
59. Youth in the Ghetto, op. cit., p. 144.
60. Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, op. cit.
61. E. Franklin Frazier, "Problems and Needs of Negro Children and Youth Resulting from Family Disorganization," Journal of Negro Education, Summer 1960, pp. 276-277.