Mother’s Day is the one holiday that honors not just mothers, but all the ways that the black community creates and builds families.
There are an estimated 6 million adoptees in the United States, but that’s just an “official” number. In the African-American community, black children have been raised by mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, aunts, older sisters, cousins, family friends, foster mothers and adopted formally and informally, and they use Mother’s Day to salute those women as well.
Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis, who organized observances in Grafton, West Virginia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 10, 1908. As the annual celebration grew in popularity, Jarvis asked Congress to designate a day to honor mothers. In 1914, Congress declared the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
In the black community, the tradition of “taking care of our own” is a strong part of African-American culture. Robert Hill, a professor at Morgan State University, conducted a study, published in 1977, that revealed that 13 percent of black children lived in informally adoptive families, compared to 3 percent of white children.