My analysis of the evolution of the black family unit in America will start from the middle passage through the freeing of the slaves in 1863. The black family unit starts before the Africans were brought to America, it was just broken-down and rebuilt a little differently once they were in America. During the middle passage, the slaves that were taken by force came from different tribes with different languages and traditions. One of the first things that had to happen before a family unit was accepted; they had to learn to communicate with each other. After arriving in America they were sold to the highest person without any serious thought of family or tribal ties. These experiences cause the Africans to create new identities, as African Americans, this way enabled them to create new family. African American families/communities where slow to formally develop because the number of Africans were too low, they didn’t have enough men and women together.
The southern groups of people in the eighteenth century had more slaves, they had a greater success in beginning and building on the family. American born slaves where called Creole Slaves and these slaves gave rise to family and community life. Slaves with families at the time worked all day and then had their domestic family responsibilities. The problem with this was that the masters owned each slave so at any time they could be sold off again with no regard to their family ties.
Since the slave marriage was recognized by law, often times even husband and wives lived on different large farms with different masters. Religion has played a huge part in the development of the black family unite. During the times of the Dutch Church Reformation in America, the Atlantic Creole population in New Amsterdam had formal marriages. The church became an institution through which New Amsterdam blacks were able to form independent family-related units. In addition to marriage papers, storehouses of the Dutch Reformed Church contain records that list children according to fathers rather than owners and name black godparents as witnesses. In these families they were able to support each other emotionally as religion began to be introduced to them.
From this point to present day African Americans have had religion play a big part in their lives. The single parent home has plagued the black family because families were controlled by the masters they had to have extended families. The extended families consisted of grandparents, aunts’ uncles and other slaves on the same large farms with crops.
The extended system of family relationship central to African community found new purposes within the institution of American slavery. Extended families not only secured or made sure of that their members were physically given for, but they also offered emotional support. This was a very trying time for the family because the slaves were able to be controlled/moved around/misled by their masters.
Often, slave would be punished for things a family member did or even killed. In 1863 when the slaves were freed they are now given a chance to find lost family and try to renew the family unite once again.