For those unfamiliar with it, the celebration of Black Marriage Day may sound strange or even divisive. After all, marriage should be celebrated among people of all races, right? Why single out one day to focus on black marriages?
In 2002, the founder of Wedded Bliss Foundation, Inc., Nisa Muhammad had an idea: she would create an opportunity for marriage to be celebrated in the Black community as a result of the terrible statistics on in the issue within the African-American community. The first Black Marriage Day was celebrated in March 2003 in 30 cities across the U.S. It has been celebrated annually on the 4th Sunday of March ever since and spread to almost 3oo communities since its inception.
Still not convinced that this celebration is particularly important? Take a look at the bleak statistics from the Pew Research Center on marriage, family and parenting in the African-American community:
- Blacks are more far less likely to be married than Whites – 32% versus 56%.
- Black children (52%) are nearly three times as likely as white children (18%) and nearly twice as likely as Hispanic children (27%) to live with one parent.
- In 1960, 61% of black adults were married. By 2008, that share had dropped to 32%. Among whites, the marriage rate dropped from 74% in 1960 to 56% in 2008.
- In 2008, 27% of white adults and 33% of Hispanics were living with a spouse and one or more children. This compares with only 17% of black adults.
- In 2008, 19% of blacks were living in a household with children and no spouse.
- In 2008, seven-in-ten black women giving birth (72%) were unmarried. This compares with 53% of Hispanic women giving birth and 29% of whites.
- In 2008, roughly half of all black children under the age of 18 (52%) were living in a household with one parent. A third (32%) were in a household with two married parents. The rest were living in households with cohabiting partners (6%) or no parent at all (10%). By comparison, 74% of white children younger than age 18 lived in households with two married parents in 2008. Fewer than one-in-five (18%) lived in one-parent households, and the remainder lived with cohabiting partners (5%) or no parent (3%).
Nisa’s initiative serves as a yearly reminder that marriage is extremely important for the individuals involved, their children and for the society, in general. Statistics have shown that those who are married are more likely to have a better quality of life, longer lives, better sex lives, happier and more well-rounded children, and higher incomes.
This year, Black Marriage Day will be celebrated on Sunday, March 25, 2012. The theme for this year is “It Takes Two!”
*photo by Lin and Jirsa Photography. Click here to see more images from that wedding.