The Negro Family: The Case For National Action  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Negro Family: The Case For National Action (known as the Moynihan Report, 1965) was written by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, an American sociologist serving as Assistant Secretary of Labor under President Lyndon B. Johnson of the United States. In 1976, Moynihan was elected to the first of several terms as US senator from New York and continued to support liberal programs to try to end poverty. His report focused on the deep roots of black poverty in the United States and controversially concluded that the high rate of families headed by single mothers would greatly hinder progress of blacks toward economic and political equality.

Moynihan argued that the rise in black single-mother families was caused not by a lack of jobs, but by a destructive vein in ghetto culture, which could be traced to slavery times and continued discrimination in the American South under Jim Crow. Black sociologist E. Franklin Frazier had introduced that idea in the 1930s, but Moynihan was considered one of the first academics to defy conventional social-science wisdom about the structure of poverty. As he wrote later, "The work began in the most orthodox setting, the U.S. Department of Labor, to establish at some level of statistical conciseness what 'everyone knew': that economic conditions determine social conditions. Whereupon, it turned out that what everyone knew was evidently not so."

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