There is no denying the fact that fathers play an important role in the lives of their sons. A research conducted in 2009 which examined the behaviors of African-American male adolescents, resulting from father absence concluded that fathers are needed.
The paper goes on to say, intact family units are needed to ensure the success of African-American boys in school and society. Fathers are needed to ensure emotional and mental health in boys. While it is not impossible for mothers to raise productive, healthy young men who contribute to society, this task is made increasingly more difficult with the lack of strong parental influence.
In the contemporary world, there are dynamics in what constitutes a family. Also, the problem of absentee fathers is gradually being addressed in black communities.
An important issue worthy of mention in the deciphering of the phenomenon absentee fathers is that there is a difference between fathers who live separate from their children and those who are not involved in the lives of their children. There are also several other programs that have been designed to encourage black men to aspire to do better and serve as better role models to black boys and younger black men.
While the issue of the father within the family circle is being addressed, it is important to highlight the fact that some black men have excelled and continue to excel in the world and these men instill in all of the black community a ray of hope, courage, and inspiration. They present to the black young man father-figures worthy of emulating.
Father-figure role models are not enough. So, are real fathers too. This is why we must take what we have at any given time. If a black man has a father and is still looking for positive role models, there is a great pool to choose from. Otherwise, if there is no father, the following black men would still give some inspiration to do something good with your life.
Role models are not perfect. Therefore, the following listicle is not a collection of perfect black men. You may disagree with me on why one or more people do not deserve to be on the list. That’s fine because I do not intend to give you a list of Marty Stus. It is believed that imperfect role models are a more realistic approach to learning how to deal with real life. This list shows men who prove to us that we can achieve whatever we want; that we can achieve great heights through perseverance, determination, and courage.
For all the young men out there, who are looking for role models in black men, below are the ones you can count on for courage, inspiration, and determination.
1. Barack Obama
The 44th President of America will never go out from the list of black role models. The name is here to stay because of the accomplishments accompanying it. The former and the first black president of the United States left footprints for future generations to walk in. He demonstrated by his life that nothing can come in your way if you decide to pursue your dreams wholeheartedly.
2. Charles Hamilton Houston
Houston is known in the U.S.; as the “Man Who Killed Jim Crow”. He was an important personality when it came to the dismantling of the laws set forth by Jim Crow. His life as a lawyer is a great source of inspiration for many young black men who seek to pursue law as a career.
3. Neil deGrasse Tyson
The 60-year old who currently hosts a talk show on NatGeo by the name “Star Talk” a role model for all the young black NatGeomen out there who want to achieve academic excellence and make a mark in their field of study. He is an expert in astronomy and is familiar with everything related to it, one way or the other. The popular cosmologist and astrophysicist served as the 5th head of the Hayden Planetarium located in New York City.
4. Muhammed Ali
There was and is only one Muhammad Ali in the world and he was and is still an inspiration and a role model for all black people. He might not be perfect in everything, but he taught us all about how important it is to stand for what you believe in and don’t let it go no matter what. He is still hailed as one of the best boxers the world has ever produced.
5. Richard Claxton Gregory
He was an American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, conspiracy theorist, entrepreneur and occasional actor. During the turbulent 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his “no-holds-barred” sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism. He performed primarily to black audiences at segregated clubs until 1961, when he became the first black comedian to successfully cross over to white audiences, appearing on television and putting out comedy record albums.
Gregory was at the forefront of political activism in the 1960s, when he protested the Vietnam War and racial injustice. He was arrested multiple times and went on many hunger strikes. He later became a speaker and author, primarily promoting spirituality.