DiscoverBlack Fatherhood Podcast with Dr. Alvin Thomas
Black Fatherhood Podcast with Dr. Alvin Thomas

Black Fatherhood Podcast with Dr. Alvin Thomas

Author: Alvin Thomas

Subscribed: 6Played: 4


The myth of the “Absent Black Father” permeates American culture and adversely affects the mental health of Black men and their families. The Black Fatherhood Podcast serves to break that myth. Hosted by Dr. Alvin Thomas, clinical psychologist and Dir. of the TRYLab at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, the show offers engaging conversations with Black authors, artists, and academics on the issues (past and present) affecting Black fathers, and serves to celebrate and strengthen Black Fatherhood.
41 Episodes
Judge Mitchell, presiding Judge of the Juvenile Division in Dane County, oversees a myriad of juvenile and child welfare, family and civil cases.  Judge Mitchell joins us today to talk about what fathers need to know about identifying and securing their parental rights, and the challenges many men face once 'in the system'.
Black dads can too easily be excluded from the social welfare system, challenging their ability to be gainfully employed, engage with their children, and sustain a good quality of life. Dr. David Pate, Associate Professor and Chair Emeritus of the Social Work department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, joins us to talk about the effects of social welfare policy on the lives of Black men and their children.
On a mission to "spread as much joy as possible", Dexter Patterson, aka The Wisco Birder, is dedicated to making birdwatching welcoming for all birders around the state of Wisconsin.  As founding member of The BIPOC Birding Club of Wisconsin, Dexter joins us to share in a “community of people of color who love the outdoors and the birds and beauty of natural Wisconsin and wish to connect with others who share the same passion."
As our next guest writes, “Fatherhood, while immensely rewarding, comes with its own set of challenges. As a black father, these challenges are often compounded by societal pressures and stereotypes that can weigh heavily on your shoulders.”  And we agree.  Kenneth Braswell, a life long advocate for responsible fatherhood and mental health, joins us to talk about the challenges - and joys - of Black fatherhood. 
Exclusive Interview:  In August 2020, Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a white officer outside an apartment complex in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  The shooting, which happened in front of Jacob's children, prompted national outrage with riots and protests breaking out across the country.  But despite his new identity as a contemporary civil rights icon, the first word Jacob uses to describe himself is “father”.  Today we’re speaking with Jacob Blake about Black Fatherhood, and how that fateful summer night shaped his role as father, then and now.   After the episode, for more information on Jacob and the work he's doing to "plug power to purpose", go to
Mental health is too often overlooked and under appreciated in the Black community.  Dr. Rheeda Walker, an award-winning professor, psychologist, and author of The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health, join us to talk about the mental health crisis in our community today, and how "in order to reclaim a life worth living, you must first reclaim your mind.”
Alex Wheatle: Sufferah

Alex Wheatle: Sufferah


Abandoned as a baby to the British foster care system, best-sellling author Alex Wheatle grew up without any knowledge of his Jamaican parentage or family history.   Alex joins us to share stories from his new memoir "Sufferah" - of his early years at the notorious Shirley Oaks children’s home in London, through the Brixton Uprising, to the front porch in Jamaica of the father who abandoned him as an infant 24 years later.
Kwame Alexander, one of America’s most beloved writers, joins us to talk about Why Fathers Cry at Night - a collection of poems, recipes, and letters to his family about the beginnings of love, the ends of love, being a father, and a son.
From his childhood on the streets in Uganda to his life as an adoptive father and foster father of over 30 children, our guest, Peter Mutabazi, has an extraordinary personal story that weaves together countries, continents, social strata, and family – at every possible level.    
Black Santa

Black Santa


Fred Conley, a community icon in Madison, Wisconsin, saw the need for representation at Christmastime and went to work.  Shifting careers from a lifetime of experience as a police officer, Fred embraced his new role as a cherished holiday icon for Black children across the country.
We’ve long known that social policies disproportionally affect Black families. Dr. Tiffany Green, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Population Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and co-chair of The Black Maternal and Child Health Alliance of Dane County, joins us to talk about one social policy in particular, Birth Cost Recovery, and how it impacts Black fathers following the birth of their children.
I am and I feel

I am and I feel


George Floyd spoke, and no one listened. He cried, and no one responded. Black people are crying out and America is not listening and not responding, because it hears the noise and not the pain. Written at the height of racial unrest during the pandemic, this poem captures the emotional complexity throughout these traumatic experiences.
Language is an art, and how we express it matters. Author and poet F. Douglas Brown and Loyola High School (LA) Principal Jamal Adams - each masters of language - share how they’re using their talent and skill to change the narrative of the boys they teach as they transition to becoming men.
The Adventure Gap

The Adventure Gap


Why don’t we think of Black people going swimming, surfing, fishing, birding, or camping? Why are there still spaces we assume Black people shouldn’t be?  James Mills, outdoor journalist,  guide, and National Geographic Explorer, joins us to talk about how Black Americans, in both perception and practice, fall into what he calls “The Adventure Gap”.
The Shakur family - legends in American history - forever shaped the fight for Black liberation. Writer and journalist Santi Elijah Holley joins us to talk about his new book “An Amerikan Family: The Shakurs and the Nation They Created” - a sweeping and detailed account of family, history, culture, and the deeply rooted influence fathers - and father figures - have on their children. In this episode, we also hear a brief update on Jacob Blake’s health from his brother Pauly Jackson.   In the summer of 2020, Jacob was shot seven times in the back - in front of his kids - by a white officer in Kenosha WI, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.  The protests and national outrage that followed forever linked Jacob and his family to the Black Lives Matter movement, and made them instant - and prominent - figures in the ongoing struggle for racial justice.
How do we continue in relationships with people who’ve hurt us - especially those closest to us? Esau McCaulley, theologian, professor and author of “How Far to the Promised Land: One Black Family’s Story of Hope and Survival in the American South” joins us to talk about family, religion, poverty, grace and forgiveness.
Jack Johnson, boxing’s first ever African-American world heavyweight champion, broke color barriers and changed the sport forever.  But he didn’t do it alone.  He had an important father figure in his corner.  “The Royale,” a play based on the life of Jack Johnson is currently on stage and today we’re speaking with Jamal James, the actor playing the title role.
Fathers and Daughters

Fathers and Daughters


With society placeing so much emphasis on fathers and sons, the essential bond between fathers and daughters is often marginalized. David Miller, speaker and author of Dare to Be King, joins us to talk about the unique challenges Black fathers face in raising Black daughters, and how the challenges can be compounded by public policy.
Black Men's Health

Black Men's Health


Aaron Perry, the first African American diabetic to complete the Ironman Triathlon, has dedicated his life to building and strengthening himself and his family. He’s a father, son, and a brother, and we’ll be speaking with him today about his work to build healthy relationships in the community and at home.
Supports and resources that focus on Black fathers are scarce, and fathers' access to these supports for fathers is limited. Dr. Latrice Rollins, Assistant Professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine and Prevention Research Center, and the director of the National African American Child and Family Research Center, joins us to explain how any move towards father inclusive services must embrace two levels of involvement: “Father Awareness”, and “Father Friendliness".