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Abandoned in the HeartlandWork, Family, and Living in East St. Louis$
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Jennifer Hamer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520269316

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520269316.001.0001

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“Gotta Protect My Own”

“Gotta Protect My Own”

(p.154) Chapter Six “Gotta Protect My Own”
Abandoned in the Heartland

Jennifer F. Hamer

University of California Press

This chapter discusses how the lifelong burdens borne by the men of East St. Louis translate into their fears about a bedrock of their identity: their responsibility to keep loved ones safe and protected. For families relocating from cities to suburbia, safety—freedom from fear of violence and property crime—is a key motivator. It seems that many black fathers believe it is their paternal obligation to provide support, security, and protection for their children. The stories presented illustrate that fathers strive to protect, and that they try to protect young ones from the everyday perils and violence associated with urban areas. They try to protect daughters from harmful sexual encounters and boys from the drug scene. In East St. Louis, when it comes to the safety of children, even parents' overtime often is not enough.

Keywords:   black fathers, East St. Louis, safety, protection, violence, drug, sexual encounters

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