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African American Grief is a unique contribution to the field, both as a professional resource for counselors, therapists, social workers, clergy, and nurses, and as a reference volume for thanatologists, academics, and researchers. This work considers the potential effects of slavery, racism, and white ignorance and oppression on the African American experience and conception of death and grief in America. Based on interviews with 26 African-Americans who have faced the death of a significant person in their lives, the authors document, describe, and analyze key phenomena of the unique African-American experience of grief. The book combines moving narratives from the interviewees with sound research, analysis, and theoretical discussion of important issues in thanatology as well as topics such as the influence of the African-American church, gospel music, family grief, medical racism as a cause of death, and discrimination during life and after death.
Introduction. Grief and Lifespan. Racism as a Cause of Death. Racism and Discrimination in the Life of the Deceased. Visitations, Wakes, and Funerals. African-American Institutions for Dealing with Death. How People Talked about Grief. Grief Soon After the Death. Meaning Making. Grief Over the Long Run. The Family Grief Process. God. Being Strong in Grief. Continuing Connection with the Deceased. Talking About it, Crying About it with Others. Our Grief and Theirs: African-Americans Compare Their Grief with Euro-American Grief. Understanding African-American Grief. Appendix. References.