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New Photo Series ‘The Fatherhood Project’ Smashes Absent Black Father Stereotype

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 1.41.44 PMA new installment in the Colorlines series, “Life Cycles of Inequity: A Colorlines Series on Black Men” aims to shed the stigma of Black homes with dysfunctional father-child relationships by showing Black fathers in a new light.

Called “The Fatherhood Project,” the installment was created by photographer Marcus Franklin, who began documenting Black fathers in ordinary moments. He wrote about the project on

“In June of 2013, I started photographing black men and their children and created The Fatherhood Project, the online home for photos that capture them in ordinary moments,” Frankin wrote on “A single dad helping his daughter with math homework during a break at work. A dad teaching his daughter how to walk as they wait to see a doctor. A father and son chilling on a stoop.”

From May to November, Colorlines has been publishing packages of content focused on a different stage of life for Black men that is “uniquely confined by broad, societal inequities.”

In this installment, photographer Franklin challenges the assumption that all children of unwed mothers don’t have active fathers by showcasing men who break the stereotype.

“Black men taking care of our children is, on some level, revolutionary—and a form of resistance to the legacies of laws and other tools used to hinder our ability to parent,” Franklin wrote. “During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, for example, fathers were routinely separated from their children as family members were sold. And currently, disproportionately and consistently high incarceration and unemployment rates for black men have made it difficult, if not impossible for many to parent. There’s also the disproportionately high rate of homicide among black men, whether by people in their own communities or at the hands of the state. My own father was murdered by a cop a couple of weeks before my 15th birthday.”

Franklin aims to show that despite the problems that Black men are faced with on a daily basis, they don’t let that stop them from trying to be present in their children’s lives.

“Even in neighborhoods like my Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, home, beset with problems such as disinvestment and militaristic policing, you see black men parenting or at least making earnest efforts to do so,” the photographer said. “Some are parenting children who aren’t biologically related to them, too. You see them walking their children to school or picking them up; teaching a son or daughter the fundamentals of basketball on an outdoor court; or simply enjoying a morning breeze on the stoop with an infant son. Ordinary moments that crush white media narratives and stereotypes about black fathers.”

Franklin’s work is beautiful and touching depiction of the power of simple moment between Black father and child.


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