Looking at Family Structure and the Black Man’s Relevance

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Activist and pastor, Dr. Donald Morton, sees black men who are not rising to meet domestic challenges because no one has taught them. He wants to change that with his ReManned Project.

Dr Morton delivering an inspiring address to students at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Delaware - in the exact same auditorium used by Martin Luther King Jr. on September 12, 1960

“These young men are becoming fathers before they are men,” says Morton. “We have to change the paradigm. They need to know, believe and appreciate that they bring enormous value as men to hearth and home”

Donald Morton is rarely quiet. He is as renowned for his opinions as for his innovative social solutions, especially as they impact African Americans. He is also a celebrated pastor, gifted spiritual leader, husband and dad to six children.

Through his latest initiative, the “ReManned Project,” Morton is drawing upon his own failing – and redemption – to challenge fellow black men who are ostensibly disconnected from their personal and domestic responsibilities. “These young men are becoming fathers before they are men,” says Morton. “We have to change the paradigm. They need to know, believe and appreciate that they bring enormous value as men to hearth and home”

The ReManned Project

Morton started the ReManned Project after a personal journey that left him and loved ones humiliated and disappointed. “I reneged on a personal vow and the outcome was painful for those I care about. I was not the man I should have been, could have been. It was time to change.”

Morton points out that 75 percent of African American households in the United States are without a male head-of-household, compared to 35 percent of white homes. “Men are missing or malfunctioning,” says Morton. “They are not present in the lives of their relationships, their families. We have outsourced raising our men to schools, gangs, prisons. There are so many single mothers raising sons, and these men grow up to view manhood through the lens of a single mom, fused with whatever experiences they have captured by just being a black male in this country.”

The ReManned Project is a movement focused on reconstructing authentic manhood. “Authentic means exactly that,” he says, “True, reliable, dependable, faithful and trustworthy. How many people can say that about their man?”

Morton’s ReManned initiative is about guiding men to salvage themselves in three progressive phases:

  • Personal man
  • Family man
  • Societal man

“This all has to be done in close alignment with God,” says Morton. “A man who consistently demonstrates accountability to God and responsibility for himself, his family and his society is a man ReManned.”

A personal approach to a systemic problem

Morton and many other influential leaders see a system – such as social support programs that disqualify households that have a dad in the home – that institutionalizes the weakening of the black family. Morton says policies that deliberately exclude men from the family created a “learned helplessness: men are not getting up and overcoming obstacles because they have no one showing them.

Morton continues, “Accountable black men are necessary, and we need to step up and become relevant again. The idea that ‘my man won’t be around, so I am going to create a world in which my son doesn’t need him’ is common. And powerfully nullifying.”

ReManning the man

The ReManned Project counters that by targeting young black men, says Morton. “They are marginalized and need to participate in reinserting themselves into their families. We must help men recognize that they get everything other than what they really want, which is to be held accountable for a role that really matters, a father, husband, fiancé….”

Morton acknowledges that the idea of family now has many faces, and each must find “its own order.” But, traditional or non-traditional, he believes there is always room for a man to participate and share the joys and battles of raising a family.

“Here’s what we know,” says Morton. “Men are innately wired for challenge. They want rules. And consequences. Without an in-home structure and mentorship, they gravitate towards gangs and other cluster communities. Religion is depicted too passively to keep their interest. We must do things differently if we want to see our young black men change.

Measuring success

How do you measure success with a program like this? “It is uncomplicated,” Morton says. “The demonstrations of a changed lifestyle, with support from wives, girlfriends and other family members, is proof enough.”

Participants speak highly of the ReManned Project and were enthusiastic about sharing their experiences.

“The ReManned Project changed our lives,” says CC. “ The program taught me the definition and purpose of Manhood. I now value my wife and children in ways I didn’t before. I had to take responsibility for my life and that of my family. The course correction has been hard but worth it.”

Says TE, “The ReManned Project has reinforced in me the importance of my purpose as a man is to God, my family, and society. With having 4 children I will show by example to my sons how a man is to conduct himself in a Godly matter. And for my daughters they will know what kind of man to look for because I will be their greatest example!”

How do women feel about the Remanned Project?

Black women we spoke to generally favor the ReManned Project, while their white counterparts did not entirely grasp the goal of the movement. That doesn’t surprise Morton. “Black women have had to endure decades of absent and irresponsible fathers of their children and their own fathers, boyfriends and husbands. They, in their own words, are tired of having to bear the full weight and responsibility of children and family. It doesn’t work. It is not fair. White women are less impacted by absentee fathers and husbands.”

TD, the wife of a ReManned man shared this, “ I am honored to be connected to Dr. Morton and to see the expression of manhood being played out in my husband’s life. He’s finally getting what he needs and honestly, it has made my family better.."

“Men really do want to do better; they just don’t have the tools,” says Morton. “The ReManned Project provides the help they need.”

Dr. Donald Morton has a Re Manned podcast collection available for downloading: https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/remanned-restoring-manhood-donald-morton-BvgdGLxVKw4/

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