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Goings, co-authors publish new book on African American families

Trenette Clark Goings, Ph.D., has published a new book, “African American Families: Research, Theory, and Practice,” with co-authors Faye Z. Belgrave, Ph.D., and Heather A. Jones, Ph.D.

Goings is the Sandra Reeves Spears and John B. Turner Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work and founding director of the INSPIRED Lab at UNC-Chapel Hill.

“We wrote this book to capture the historical and contemporary experiences of African American people in the United States and how those experiences continue to shape contemporary African American families,” Goings said.

“Our book is distinct from other books on the African American family. Consistent with the hallmark of social work, we integrate a strengths perspective and ecological and resilience theories throughout the book, which differs from traditional work that pathologizes the African American family.

“There are so many takeaway messages in this book. For example, African American families are not monolithic but diverse like other families. African American families encounter racism at every stage of life, which can negatively impact their well-being in myriad ways, including underneath the skin, which can be more difficult to notice.

“Also, African American families have survived and thrived in a nation that was not established for them and has intentionally sought to oppress them,” she continued. “I am hopeful that this book will enlighten readers and enhance understanding, respect, empathy, and compassion for the journey and experiences of African American families.

“I’m especially excited about Chapter 2, which provides the history of the African American family beginning in Africa and ending with today’s Black Lives Matter movement, calls for monuments to be removed, and continued family racial socialization,” Goings said. “And I’m thrilled that we included a chapter offering theoretical and methodological considerations when working with African American families. I anticipate using this chapter in my program evaluation and research course.

“I think people who are committed to or curious about being on the antiracism journey — those who are wanting to unlearn assumptions and stereotypes that contribute to bias — may find this book useful,” she added. “Honestly, everyone from administrators, teachers, and clinicians, to police officers, policy makers, and medical providers could benefit from reading this book — everyone.”

Chapters in “African American Families: Research, Theory, and Practice” explore a range of topics that include economic opportunities for urban African Americans, African-centered education, the Black church, and health outcomes of grandparents raising grandchildren.

Contributors to these chapters include Tauchiana Williams, a clinical assistant professor at UNC School of Social Work and director of the School’s 12-Month Advanced Standing MSW Program.

Co-authors Belgrave and Jones are faculty members at Virginia Commonwealth University, where Goings completed her doctoral studies.

Belgrave is University Professor, interim associate dean for equity and community partnerships, professor of psychology, and the founding director of VCU’s Center for Cultural Experience in Prevention.

Jones is an associate professor of psychology and chair of the child/adolescent concentration of the VCU Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program.

“African American Families: Research, Theory, and Practice” is published by Cognella Academic Publishing. Digital review copies for instructors in social work, sociology, psychology, education, African American studies, cultural and ethnic studies, and related areas are available from the publisher. Additional instructor resources (such as PPTs and test banks) will be available online in summer 2021.

For more information, visit the book’s webpage and follow Goings on Twitter and Instagram.