11 27 2014
  10:26 am  
     •     
The Wake of Vanport oral history
McMenamins

The fatherless Black family is a problem that grows to bigger proportions every year as generations of Black children grow up without an adult male in their homes. Even the minority of Black men who do live with their children often struggle with the role.

As this dire pattern grows worse, what can men who hope to break it do when there are so few models and so little guidance in their own homes and communities? Where can they learn to "become Dad?"

When Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts — who himself grew up with an abusive father whose absences came as a relief — interviewed dozens of men across the country, he found both discouragement and hope, as well as deep insights into his own roles as son and father.

"Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood" (Agate paperback, $16) is an unflinching investigation, both personal and journalistic, of Black fatherhood in America.

Pitts won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his twice-weekly syndicated column, which appears in more than 200 newspapers, and has won numerous other journalism awards. Born and raised in Southern California, he now lives in suburban Washington, D.C. with his wife and children.

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