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A Reexamination of the Myth of Black Matriarchy

Katheryn Thomas Dietrich
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 37, No. 2 (May, 1975), pp. 367-374
DOI: 10.2307/350970
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/350970
Page Count: 8
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A Reexamination of the Myth of Black Matriarchy
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Abstract

Previous arguments that matriarchy is a myth in the black lower classes are reviewed and an additional argument is presented: the irrelevance of heretofore employed decision-making measures for lower-class blacks. This study employs seemingly more relevant measures to examine conjugal decision-making and decision-implementation in predominantly lower-class black families in five metropolitan populations and two nonmetropolitan populations in the U.S. Role-patterning by specific decision-areas and composite power configurations based on the typologies of Wolfe and of Herbst are analyzed. The results call into question presumptions that matriarchy is normative in the black lower class.

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