46th Annual Dr. Joseph H. McMillan National Conference on The Black Family in America
The Black family is the pillar that is essential to the growth and vitality of the community. However, the Black family has been under attack with distorted images since slavery. These negative portrayals were propagated by Daniel P. Monihan’s 1965 report on “The Negro Family: A Case for National Action.”
The report concluded that the structure of family life in the black community constituted a 'tangle of pathology... capable of perpetuating itself without assistance from the white world,' and that 'at the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family. It is the fundamental source of the weakness of the Negro community at the present time.' Also, the report argued that the matriarchal structure of black culture weakened the ability of black men to function as authority figures. That particular notion of black familial life has become a widespread, if not dominant, paradigm for comprehending the social and economic disintegration of late 20th-century black urban life.
The Black Family Conference serves to counter the negative images of Black families. The conference provides opportunities for scholarly research as well as community participation and dialogue. Some of the important aspects of the Black Family Conference include the following:
The University of Louisville’s National Conference on the Black Family is one of the oldest gatherings of its kind in the nation. The late Dr. Joseph H. McMillan, assistant provost for Academic and Minority Affairs, led the conference during the tumultuous presidency of Richard Nixon. For 46 years, the BFC has been a platform for collaboration between the university, the community and academics.
The conference was renamed in honor of Dr. Joseph H. McMillan in 2010, and connects community residents, students and groups that more often than not operate in different economic, social and political silos.