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NCJ Number: 227847 Find in a Library
Title: Tracing the Historical Origins of Youth Delinquency & Violence: Myths & Realities About Black Culture
Journal: Journal of Social Issues  Volume:59  Issue:1  Dated:2003  Pages:67-82
Author(s): William E. Cross Jr.
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 16
Type: Historical Overview; Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This literature review of works that have traced the historical origins of youth delinquency and violence among African-Americans, focused on the impact of slavery and Black culture.
Abstract: Key scholars of the Black experience such as Wilson (1987), Patterson (1998), and Ogbu (1991) have attempted to show that contemporary problems in the Black community - such as family instability, low motivation to achieve, and high rates of juvenile delinquency and youth violence - can be traced in a linear fashion to the legacy of slavery and past discrimination. This review presents another analysis, which criticizes the historical linkage of contemporary Black problems to the legacy of slavery as being a problematic and dubious view of Black history. This paper reviews the evidence that contests this legacy of slavery thesis. There is very little historical evidence, for example, that Blacks as a whole resisted formal educational opportunities in the immediate aftermath of slavery. On the contrary, the educational demands that the masses of ex-slaves placed on themselves and on the larger society can only be viewed as a social movement for education. The attitudes and behavior of the ex-slaves show a motivation toward achievement in education for themselves and their children that was a centerpiece of their standards for personal excellence and informed involvement in the political, economic, cultural, and religious arenas of the new, free society. The ex-slaves took advantage of the material and funding support provided by the Federal Freedman's Bureau and cooperated with educational agents from northern benevolent societies. Blacks left slavery with the social capital and motivation for achievement that was needed for rapid acculturation into mainstream America. Problems arose when systemic forces in the dominant White culture neutralized or undermined Black acculturation. 50 references
Main Term(s): Violent juvenile offenders
Index Term(s): Black juvenile delinquents; Black/African Americans; Crime causes theory; Cultural influences
Note: For other articles in this issue, see NCJ-227844-46 and NCJ-227848-52.
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