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Black Fatherhood

by The Urban News
Mr. Dunbar. Photo: Cornell Watson; reprinted courtesy of the artist. 

Durham-based photographer and father Cornell Watson traveled the state photographing Black dads—capturing the complexity of raising Black kids.

Watson shared this statement about Black fatherhood in The Assembly, “As a Black dad, Father’s Day hits a little differently. It’s hard not to think about the history of Black fatherhood and how our ancestors’ families were separated on plantations. It’s hard not to think about how part of my dad-duty will include giving my kids “The Talk.” How my brothers who are incarcerated are separated from their families with harsh sentences for nonviolent crimes. How Covid-19 and the country’s history of medical racism have disproportionately killed us.”

Read the full article, The Pain and Joy of Black Fatherhood, at www.theassemblync.com/place/cornell-watson-the-pain-and-joy-of-black-fatherhood.

Cornell Watson
Cornell Watson

Cornell Watson is a photographer who lives in Durham, North Carolina. His work has been published in The New York Times and The Washington Post, including his photography project “Behind the Mask,” about the Black experience in the United States.

The photo series “Behind the Mask” was created, according to Watson, “in honor of my ancestors who smiled when they were not happy, laughed when nothing was funny, and cried when they were not sad so that I could be here today.”

The introduction to the series states:

“This is for the time we cut or straighten our hair to be “professional.” For the times we pretend to be happy around our managers after seeing photos of them in Blackface. For the days we show up to work and smile after watching our brothers and sisters lynched on live stream.

“For the times we change our voices and profile pics to make hotel and dinner reservations. For the times we pretend to be strong when we are dying from the weight of racism. For the times we cheerfully congratulate white mediocrity…

Read the full article here

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