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Death and Dying: The African American Experience
Transcript of Death and Dying: The African American Experience
By: Carla Hunter, Hailey Johns, Stephanie Johnson, & Shawnay Gibson-Carmichael
History of the Culture
Conceptions About Death
To many, death has always been a taboo topic. However, in the African American community, death is an important aspect of culture. Death Traditions, customs, procedures, mourning practices, burial rites, and even the structure of African American cemeteries differ greatly from other cultures.
Cultural Rituals for Coping With Death and Dying
Final Arrangements for the Body and Honoring the Death
Dying, Funeral, and Burial Rituals
Roles of the Family Members
Attitudes About Suicide
Most common in young males
Due to drugs, violence, emotions.
Because of their relationship with God most African American people view suicide as unacceptable.
Suicide attempts are more common in females, but actually going through with it is the males.
African Americans have the lowest rate of suicide in the United States.
African Americans grieve with great emotion but only to their loved ones.
Rely on inner spirits and God to help them get through the grieving.
The use of life experience and talking about the past helps also.
Family and friends gatherings is vital during the death process.
African Americans view death as a “transition” into after life, which helps them cope better.
Trust is a big issue in mourning.
Usually celebrate by talking about personalities of the dead and having a meal to celebrate them uniting with Jesus.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, an industry developed that became a path to economic independence for many African-American funeral directors
Black funeral homes started appearing in the United States, with the first established in 1876 in Savannah, Georgia
During the slave trade, death provided a rare time for slave communities to congregate, socialize and celebrate. These gatherings helped lay the groundwork for African-American communal life in the post-slavery era"
- Suzanne E. Smith (funeral historian)
These gatherings took on a more formal nature after the end of the Civil War under segregation. This marked the beginning of the modern African-American funeral industry.
“I am, because we are; and since we are, therefore I am.”
what happens to the individual happens to the entire group, and whatever happens to the whole group happens to the individual
spirit and matter cannot be separated
principal of dual unity serves as core concept
Family is key.
Additional Principles of Death: