E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said he has been “unfairly criticized” by some for “speaking out against the harm done to the black family.”
Jackson drew criticism last week for a speech he gave at a Juneteenth event in Newport News, where he said slavery did not destroy black families, but that it was government welfare programs launched in the 1960s that caused them to deteriorate.
In a news release sent out by his campaign today, Jackson reiterated his position. “It does not take that much time to search the Internet to find study after study that confirms the harm big government has caused the black family,” Jackson said.
“The evidence of many studies and government statistics show that out-of-wedlock births among black families is about 80 percent among the inner-cities of America,” Jackson continued. “In testament to the strength of the men and women who endured the horrors of slavery in America, the black family remained largely intact nonetheless. It is that much more shocking therefore that we have seen the erosion of the black family in the last 50 years since the rise of the War on Poverty,” he said.
Cassandra L. Newby-Alexander, director of the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for African Diaspora Studies at Norfolk State University, said today that Jackson’s characterization of why and when the black family unit was severely harmed is inaccurate.
Newby-Alexander said that it wasn’t federal welfare programs, but urban migration and the difficulties of urban life, such as discrimination in the workplace, that has impacted families negatively.