A Threat to the Future: Black Families in the Urban Ghetto

Coming to grips with the crumbling black family

The most difficult fact for white Americans to understand is that. . . the circumstances of the Negro American community in recent years [have]probably been getting worse, not better. The fundamental problem . . . is that of family structure. The evidence—not final, but powerfully persuasive—is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling.

—Daniel P. Moynihan

U.S. Department of Labor report, 1965

Practically a generation has passed since that well-intended policy paper, the notorious "Moynihan Report," prompted an angry dispute over the nature of the modern American black family. The report is...

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