When We Were Fathers: Black Fatherhood Through the Turbulent Twentieth Century

Ntare Ali Gault's picture
Call for Papers
September 18, 2020
Arizona, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, American History / Studies, Oral History, Race / Ethnic Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Call for Chapters:

When We Were Fathers: Black Fatherhood Through the Turbulent Twentieth Century 


Ntare Ali Gault, Ph. D.-Editor

Adjunct Professor

University of Arizona

Africana Studies


Despite recent data to the contrary, the national conversation on Black fatherhood continues to trend towards conversations on absenteeism. This obscures diverse narratives on Black fatherhood, and Black masculinity more generally, that have always existed. When We Were Fathers: Twentieth Century Black Fatherhood is a collection of stories by Black scholars which seeks to disrupt this narrative by offering poignant reflections on the nature of Black Fatherhood through a personal and scholarly lens. Chapter authors will discuss the men who raised them through several different historical periods in American history.


When We Were Fathers builds on earlier works regarding Black Fatherhood. Works like Black Fatherhood: Reclaiming Our Legacy (Dr. Curtis L. Ivery and Marcus Ivery, 2014), The Myth of the Missing Black Father (Edited by Roberta L. Coles and Charles Green, 2010),  When We Imagine Grace (Simone C. Drake, 2016), Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations, Testimony and Triumphs (Khalid Akil White, 2016) all seek to respond to crisis centered reads of both Black fatherhood and Black masculinity. Many other works currently published focus on interviews with men who are raising their children while advising the best methods in rearing a family. When We Were Fathers is distinct in its call for Black scholars offering personal and historical reflections of fatherhood in light of their scholarship.


When We Were Fathers gives a multi- dimensional view of Black fatherhood and Black masculinity. Contributors to this volume will reveal the diversity of backgrounds Black men have emerged from, show their survival through difficult periods in American history, and allow such facts to attest to the historical fortitude of Black fathers. This work, then, is both a celebration of and critical analysis of Black fatherhood.

Possible areas of focus or questions include the following: 

History and/or Theory. What did your father experience during the 20th Century and how did it reflect in your raising? What historical moments shaped your father and/or your notion of fatherhood?

  1. More general papers regarding possible approaches to the study of Black Fatherhood are also welcome. 
  2. Deconstructing Black fatherlessness and black families during slavery 
  3. Black fatherhood and the notion of the “nuclear family” in earlier Black Family Studies
  4. The role religion played in fictive and biological notions of Black fatherhood
  5. What theories and frameworks from Gender Studies and/or Black Masculinity Studies are needed to adequately study and understand Black fatherhood historically and presently?

Memoir. What does it mean to be a black father? What is your story, what is your father and grandfather’s story? 

Deadline for the abstract (max. 500 words) is September 18, 2020.

Deadline for an article of 15-20 pages is January 18, 2021.

Contact Information 

Please send abstracts and other correspondence to Ntare Ali Gault at ngault@email.arizona.edu


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