Posted Aug. 29, 2007 –If it wasn't for the Black church, more African Americans would commit suicide, according to a new report.
"Historically, we know that the church has been an incredibly important institution around which the Black community has unified," Kevin Fitzpatrick, a sociology professor at the University of Arkansas, told Akiit.com, Daily Digest for African Americans.
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The study focused on "whether or not religion was important, particularly in a community where religion has been, and often still is, playing a central and unifying role across generations."
Calvin White, another professor at Arkansas, points to such leaders as the Revs. Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who have a major influence on Black society.
"It's no coincidence," White said, "that these men are all ministers and the position of the church as a leader, although perhaps declining slightly, is still huge among Blacks."
The suicide rate for White Americans is about three times that of their African American counterparts. Part of that is due to the fact that the Black experience is rooted in overcoming obstacles, he said.
"You may be barefoot on Earth, but you've got shoes waiting in heaven," and killing oneself is denying the struggles essential to the Black identity, White told Akiit.com.
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