Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Simon, James


This study explores the role of Black American fathers and how they parent in the absence of their fathers growing up. Though a common narrative frames Black fathers as largely absent in the lives of their children, recent literature has aimed to demystify societal factors that may lead to this judgment. Influences such as media representation, welfare policies, and child support laws may contribute to the preservation of this trope (Rambert, 2021). Considering this misconception, it is important to advance the knowledge regarding Black fatherhood through their lived experiences despite circumstances that may perpetuate this myth.

The primary goal of this study will be to illuminate the challenges that Black fathers may face and identify what influences have contributed to their successful engagement in their children’s lives. This qualitative research study utilized an inductive exploratory approach. Participants were recruited using a non-probability snowball sampling method which yielded six eligible respondents from various metropolitan cities across the U.S. Within a neutral setting, qualified participants were interviewed using open-ended questions about their experiences, and responses were analyzed utilizing conventional content analysis to identify common themes and subthemes (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005). This study yielded several themes including Black fathers' perspectives on fatherhood, revealing a commitment to stability, protectiveness, and dedicated support for their children. Fathers highlighted the value of modeling behaviors they did not see in their childhood and the benefits of having a village in support of their efforts despite the many barriers they face. This study highlights the value of Black fathers’ presence in the lives of their children and the importance of creating equitable approaches to support, specifically in societal systems that often leave Black fathers feeling ostracized instead of empowered.

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Social Work Commons