“Gotta Protect My Own”

Jennifer F. Hamer

in Abandoned in the Heartland

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780520269316
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950177 | DOI:
“Gotta Protect My Own”

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This chapter discusses how the lifelong burdens borne by the men of East St. Louis translate into their fears about a bedrock of their identity: their responsibility to keep loved ones safe and protected. For families relocating from cities to suburbia, safety—freedom from fear of violence and property crime—is a key motivator. It seems that many black fathers believe it is their paternal obligation to provide support, security, and protection for their children. The stories presented illustrate that fathers strive to protect, and that they try to protect young ones from the everyday perils and violence associated with urban areas. They try to protect daughters from harmful sexual encounters and boys from the drug scene. In East St. Louis, when it comes to the safety of children, even parents' overtime often is not enough.

Keywords: black fathers; East St. Louis; safety; protection; violence; drug; sexual encounters

Chapter.  8172 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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