click for: Black Marriage recordings from the Smart Marriages Conferences
The quickest and easiest way to catch up with programs and efforts to strengthen

African American Marriage all across the country.


Look at this wonderful promo for Black Marriage Day in today's Washington

Post! Bravo Nisa! Of course, it would have been even better if they'd

included the web site. Contact your local papers and get them to do an

article this week.

Here is the info: Black Marriage Day is on or near the 4th Sunday in

and is sponsored by Wedded Bliss Foundation. Go to:

Also visit the Smart Marriages e-newslist archive where there are

dozens of articles with ideas about how others are

celebrating Black Marriage Day around the country. Go to

Search for "Black Marriage Day" - be sure to use quotes around the phrase,

or you'll get every post that includes "Marriage", which is most of them.

Nisa will present several times at the June Smart Marriages Conference where

she'll introduce her new "Black Marriage Curriculum". Be sure to stop at

her exhibit and plan your own Black Marriage Day Celebration.

And, doesn't this book sound fascinating. I'll contact DeRamus and see if we

can have her book available at the Conference -- maybe even get her to the

conference. To order "Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from the Underground

Railroad" on amazon for only $16.50 click on:

- diane



The Washington Post

By Jabari Asim

March 21, 2005

WASHINGTON -- "We will laud the bold and brave couples around the country

that have committed to each other until death do they part," Nisa Islam

Muhammad's Web site declares. "We want to acknowledge their bravery because

in a world where it is far easier to break up a family than it is to get

help to stay together, it takes sheer courage to fight for your marriage and

resist divorce."

She is referring to Black Marriage Day, which will be observed March 27. The

event, founded by Muhammad three years ago, continues to gather steam. Last

year's activities included workshops and programs in about 70 cities. In

churches and community centers, couples gathered to renew their vows and

recite a black marriage pledge. Muhammad hopes to involve 150 cities in this

year's commemoration. She writes, "much of what we hear about marriage in

the black community is a blues song about low (marriage) rates,

out-of-wedlock births, escalating divorces and how somebody done somebody


I share Muhammad's distress. The rates to which she refers are, in the words

of the African American Healthy Marriage Initiative, "crisis-level

statistics." While 62 percent of adult whites and 60 percent of adult

Hispanics are married, only 41 percent of adult African-Americans are. There

are 23 divorces per 1,000 black couples per year, compared to 19 for whites.

The number of unmarried women having children is high for whites and

Hispanics as well (25 percent and 42 percent, respectively), but

astronomical for African-Americans: 69 percent.

While black communities are allegedly more opposed to gay marriage than

other populations, one can look at those numbers and wonder if

African-Americans are beginning to lose faith in marriage of any kind.

Wedded bliss once attracted considerably more esteem from African-Americans,

especially in the years following emancipation, when blacks were able to

marry legally for the first time.

According to Betty DeRamus, between 1890 and 1940, a slightly higher

percentage of black adults than whites married.

DeRamus is the author of "Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories From the Underground

Railroad." She pored over unpublished memoirs, Civil War records and other

materials to document the efforts of couples (some interracial, most of them

black) who risked life and limb to be together. She told me she began the

book after researching a couple whose descendants live in the upper

peninsula of Michigan. Her investigations led her "to believe that there

must be other stories about people who made extraordinary efforts to get

married despite all these forces arrayed against them."

Foremost among those forces were slave owners who, DeRamus writes,

"justified splitting up plantation couples by claiming that slaves felt

little pain at losing a mate and cared nothing about lasting relationships."

She quotes the wife of an Alabama minister who contended, "Not one in a

thousand, I suppose, of those poor creatures have any conception whatever of

the sanctity of marriage."

DeRamus' book, like others before it, exposes the fallacy of such outrageous

claims. Among many remarkable accounts in "Forbidden Fruit," I was most

affected by the tale of John Little who, during an arduous escape to Canada,

often carried his sickly wife on his back. They reached the Canadian

wilderness with "nothing but two axes, one suit of clothes, an iron pot, a

Dutch oven, a few plates and forks, some pork and flour." They built a home

there amid wolves and bears, DeRamus writes, and raised wheat and potatoes.

Compare that to modern couples of any race, who spend an average of $24,000

on their weddings only to likely divorce, according to statistics, within 15


Meanwhile, word of Black Marriage Day is spreading slowly. DeRamus hadn't

heard of the observance but understood its purpose. "Sociologists could give

you a zillion reasons why the family is in shambles," she said. "I'm not

saying single parents can't raise their kids but it has to be harder."

DeRamus fondly recalls her dad reading to her each night and combing her

hair on Sunday mornings before sending her off to church. "He was such an

important part of my life that I have to think we're all the poorer when we

don't have that," she said.

DeRamus' talk of growing up in a two-parent household led me to recall a

sage observation from the actress Ruby Dee. "The divorce rate would be lower

if instead of marrying for better or worse people would marry for good," she

once said. Good words to keep in mind on March 27, or any day.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company



New Orleans, LA, March 14, 2005--- The Louisiana Family Council in

partnership with the Greater New Orleans Healthy Marriage Coalition and a

host of organizations, present the citywide Black Marriage Day March 27,

2005. A Press Conference March 21, 10 am at The Church at New Orleans will

include representatives from each sponsoring member organization.

We are celebrating Black Marriage Day on Easter Sunday in order to resurrect

marriages in our community on the same day that we celebrate the

resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have continued our efforts in promoting

Black Marriage with the knowledge that married people live longer, have

better health, earn more money, accumulate more wealth, buy more homes, feel

more fulfilled in their lives, report enjoying more satisfying sexual

relations and have happier, more successful children. For more information

on the press conference or event all Samantha Lee at the Louisiana Family

Council, Center for Marriage at 504-821-5493.

Here is a copy of our Black Marriage Day Pledge:

We come together, before the God of our understanding, as singles, married,

divorced, young and old, in celebration of Black Marriage Day.

We celebrate our desire to help others know the ecstasy and agony that only

marriage can produce.

We pledge to help others in their decision to marry understand that many

times our marriages need help and there is no shame in seeking help for the

most important relationship in our life after God.

We pledge to work toward correcting the devastation that occurs in

communities with high rates of divorce and out of wedlock births. We pledge

to give more of our children the gift of a two parent family. We pledge to

be a friend of the marriages we know with support and care.

We pledge to be a good example of Black love for our family and community,

so help me God. - Copyright 2003 Nisa Islam Muhammad



Black marriage focus of seminar

Religious leaders voice alarm over declining rates

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


March 22, 2005

> The program is being sponsored by the Milwaukee-based Institute for African

> American Family Development, which was founded by the Rev. LeHavre Buck, as a

> means of strengthening black families.

The institution of marriage is declining sharply in black America and

several black religious leaders will address the issue, which they say is at

a crisis status.

On Saturday, a group of religious organizations wants to begin a discussion

at the Heartlove Place Conference Center, 3229 N. King Drive, on declining

marriage rates, which they say is an alarming and shameful topic for


The crisis level has been raised to red, according to religious leaders, but

the groups behind the gathering hope to shape the discussion as both a

celebration and a call to arms at the Second Annual Black Marriage Day

Conference. They plan to showcase black couples with successful marriages

with the aim of reversing a trend, reflected in figures from the U.S. Census

Bureau, that threatens to endanger the concept of two-parent households.

Black religious organizations across the country have declared Sunday "Black

Marriage Day." It's a day set in motion in 2004 to reverse declining trends

in marriage and increasing divorce rates in the United States, particularly

for black families.

Chilling statistics

Nearly 54% of young African-Americans between the ages of 24 and 34 have

never been married, compared with 35% for other Americans. Two out of three

black couples nationally divorce, compared with 50% for others. More

ominous, only about half of the black children across the country are being

raised in two-parent households.

There was no racial breakdown for the divorce rate in Wisconsin. But census

figures for the state show a 25.7% increase in Wisconsin in people living

alone since 1990, from 443,673 to 557,875. Householders living alone now

account for 26.8% of the 2.08 million households in the state. Black

Marriage Day was initiated last year by Nisa Islam Muhammad's Wedded Bliss

Foundation in Washington, D.C. Muhammad, a journalist and lecturer,

introduced observance of the day with the national Institute for Responsible

Fatherhood and Family Revitalization, which is also based in Washington.

Locally, organizers will attempt to convey the message that marriage matters

through the conference.

The program is being sponsored by the Milwaukee-based Institute for African

American Family Development, which was founded by the Rev. LeHavre Buck, as

a means of strengthening black families.

"My spirit right now is to really help my community have healthy

relationships," said Buck, one of the driving forces behind the conference,

"because so many are having babies (out of wedlock)."

Although the focus of the conference is on marriage and relationships, it's

also about children and the state's soaring incarceration rate for black

males, said Buck, who is pastor of Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in

Christ, 2222 N. 6th St.

The figures, just for Wisconsin, are staggering: 85% of all African-American

men incarcerated in Wisconsin's prisons come from fatherless homes. About

70% of black teen pregnancies also involve girls from fatherless homes, he

said. Nationally, according to the census, for every 100 black women between

the ages of 18 and 24 there are, in the same age group, 85 men. Black men

are also eight times more likely to be victims of homicide than white men.

If a young black woman gets pregnant as a teenager, she's not likely to

graduate from high school or college, Buck said.

Free workshops

The conference, which will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will have free

marriage and relationship workshops, which will be conducted by the Rev.

Leondis Fuller, of New Covenant Baptist Church, 2315 N. 38th St., and

representatives from Parklawn Christian Center, 4949 W. Villard Ave.,

sponsors say.

Fuller said the workshops are aimed at reflecting the root cause behind the

current trends in relationships.

"A lot of times people tie in to getting involved with other people to help

find out and identify who they are," he said. "But if we had people who were

pretty much on target with a sense of direction and a sense of self before

getting wrapped into someone else, they could be more in tune to give to one

another than taking one from one another."

Fuller is heading one of the workshops on developing healthy relationships.

Buck said the focus of the conference was placed on black families because

they have the highest rate of single-parent homes, but all are invited. A 4

p.m. evening session at Heartlove Place will honor married couples.

Tickets are $25 for couples and $15 for singles. For more information on the

conference, call Buck at (414) 915-0558.



The City of Tallahassee, the North Florida African-American Healthy Marriage

Coalition and the Capital City Youth Development Corporation recognize Black

Marriage Day in the State's Capital.

March 27, 2005 is Black Marriage Day. Tallahassee along with many other

cities around the country are celebrating this weekend with special programs

to acknowledge marriage in the African-American Community.

Over the past two years the North Florida African-American Healthy Marriage

Coalition, the Capital City Youth Development Corporation and over 20

community churches have joined in the celebration of black marriages. "We

have long since discovered the protective factors of healthy marriage in the

lives of children. We could not be more pleased that the Mayor recognizes

the significance as well", says Valerie Pace, Board Chairman for the Capital

City Youth Development Corporation.

This year the Coalition expanded its programming to a full month by

providing marriage education seminars, radio and newspaper public service

announcements and recognition of married couples during services at local

churches. "The community has readily embraced the work that the Coalition

has done over the past few years", says Paula DeBoles-Johnson, Coalition

Member. "However, there is still much more work to be done."

For information regarding the North Florida African-American Healthy

Coalition, please visit or call the CCYDC information

line at (850) 841-3667.-



Rally is March 26th 2004 - Free admission

Benny H. Potter Park

Theme: Resurrecting Marriage in the Black Communities

Greetings Associates,

We would like to invite or remind you about the 3rd Annual Black Marriage

Day Celebration that HALO conjunction with Wedded Bliss Foundation of

Washington DC. March 27th is the National Celebration Day, however the Los

Angeles Chapter has always celebrated with a kick-off rally on the Saturday

prior. This year we will be doing the same thing March 26th!

We will have live entertainment, guest speakers, a mini-seminar on

Marriage & Relationships, vendors and exhibitors who have services and

products directed to couples and families. All of this to be culminated with

an honoring of 14 couples that are either Newly-Weds (married less than 1

year); Conquering Couples (enduring for 2-9 years); Encouraging Couples

(married 10 years or more); Pioneer Couples (25 years or more) and our

Lifetime Couples (married more than 40 years) of which we have 3 honoree


Please join us, spread the word and bring a someone with you, ALL ARE

WELCOME! this is the first event of the year for HALO and we want it to be a

precursor for success the rest of the Year! - "Los Angeles H.A.L.O Inc."



WHEREAS, Black Marriage Day was created by Nisa Islam Muhammad of the Wedded

Bliss Foundation in 2003 as a national endeavor to promote marriage in the

black community; and

WHEREAS, the Louisiana Family Council, the Wedded Bliss Foundation and the

Northwest Louisiana Marriage Coalition recognize that communities have a

responsibility to help change the culture of marriage by encouraging

collaborations between community groups and faith- based institutions by

promoting healthy stable marriages, conducting celebrations that increase

the value of marriage, and instituting programs that provide services to

strengthen marriage: and

WHEREAS, the Louisiana Family Council was awarded the State of Louisiana's

first Healthy Marriage/Relationship Demonstration project which was

conducted in Shreveport in 2003; and

WHEREAS, the Louisiana Family Council continues its work toward

strengthening families by offering pre-marital and marital marriage

education services as well as relationship education for young adults.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, KEITH HIGHTOWER, Mayor of the City of Shreveport, do

hereby proclaim Sunday, March 27, 2005, as: "BLACK MARRIAGE DAY" in the

City of Shreveport, and urge all citizens to join in the celebration of this

special occasion.




The New Yorker Magazine

October 10, 2005

Maryann Reid, the engineer of Marry Your Baby Daddy Day, is neither married

nor a parent. But she is an old-fashioned romantic. Although she writes

fiction of the single-girl-in-the-city variety for a living (recent titles

include ?Sex and the Single Sister? and ?Use Me or Lose Me?), she has found

dating in New York a ?disturbing? experience. Having become increasingly

impatient with her own prospects, Reid, who is thirty and lives with her

mother in Marine Park, recently turned her ambitions to those with more

immediate possibilities. Her basic idea was this: Find ten cohabiting

couples with kids. Plan them a free wedding.

The other day, at the House of the Lord Church, a Pentecostal congregation

in downtown Brooklyn, Reid was stage-managing the rehearsal for the mass

wedding, which was to take place two days later. In attendance were ten

affianced couples (they were chosen after submitting to phone interviews and

home visits by Reid), their parents, siblings, best men, and maids of honor,

and their children, who ranged in age from fourteen months to sixteen years.

To finance the festivities, Reid had solicited donations: ten gowns, veils,

and headpieces; ten wedding cakes, by Fort Greene?s Cake Man Raven; twenty

bouquets; three hundred invitations; fifty bottles of champagne; and one

reception hall (the Brooklyn Borough Hall rotunda). The gowns were

particularly appreciated. ?Seeing the dress on me made me really emotional,?

one bride said, recalling her fitting. ?I was hyperventilating. They were

running around getting me water. I was holding on to the footstool.? Most

crucial, Reid had secured the assistance of the House of the Lord?s Reverend

Doctor Herbert Daughtry, who would counsel and marry the couples, and of a

professional wedding planner, Patricia Washington. ?When she first came to

me and said ?Ten brides,? I was, like, ?Ten brides, all at once? Hell no!? ?

Washington recalled.

As the grooms trickled into the sanctuary (they had . . . .

To read the full article visit:

And, from the Chicago Tribune:

Maryann Reid, a young writer out of Brooklyn, is one of the few who is

tackling this issue head on. On Sept. 29 in New York, Reid is having a

"Marry Your Baby Daddy Day." The mass wedding ceremony will be officiated by

the Rev. Herb Daughtry. Reid, whose book Marry Your Baby Daddy is set to be

released this fall, has gotten wedding-dress designers, planners and vendors

to contribute their services. Ten unwed mothers are set to walk down the


In an interview with Black, Reid said it's "time to stop talking

about unwed couples and inspire them to take the next step."

"There was a time, not too long ago, when black men would go to a club, see

a woman and say, 'She's going to be my wife,'" Reid said. "Now, you have

guys saying, 'She's going to be my baby's mama.' "

Others are also sounding the alarm.

In July, veteran syndicated columnist William Raspberry pointed out that

because of the decline of marriage and the absence of fathers, "for the

first time since slavery, it is no longer possible to say with assurance

that things are getting better."

"It isn't the incompetence of mothers that is at issue, but the absence of

half of the adult support needed for families to be most effective,"

Raspberry said.

According to the latest U.S. Census, black women are a lot less likely to

get married today than they were 50 years ago. In fact, the percentage of

"never married" black women has doubled over that time period -- from 20.7

percent to 42.4 percent.

That's why a story about two of the couples who were rescued from the New

Orleans flood getting married at a shelter in Houston gave me hope for my


(Send me news if your Community Healthy Marriage Initiative arranges a

wedding like this. - diane)



Catch up with efforts to strengthen African American Marriage all across the

country at the African American Healthy Marriage Initiative (AAHMI) forums

at the Smart Marriages Dallas Conference. Join the AAHMI for meetings on

Fri from 5:45-6:45pm before the banquet and the next morning, Sat from

7:30-8:15am. Look for room locations in the on-site packet. No registration

necessary, just show up and join in. Also, stop by the African American

Healthy Marriage Initiative Exhibit, gather materials and meet w/ the

leaders of the Initiative.

Below are a few of the sessions that will focus on strengthening marriage in

the black community at the upcoming Dallas conference.

Lorraine Blackman will present a 2-day pre-conference training institute in

her African American Marriage Education Program: (this session was not recorded)

> 110 Two Days - Wednesday & Thursday, June 22 & 23

> The African American Marriage Education Program:

> How To Make Your Good Thing Better

> Lorraine Blackman, PhD

> Learn to teach the knowledge, attitudes, values, and skills necessary to help

> couples create stable, committed, functional, and satisfying families.

> Includes strengthening the relationship between parents as intimate couples

> and as cooperative parents - regardless of the character of their current

> relationship. Qualifies you teach the program. $100 spouse discount.

> For more information visit: /blackman.html


You can order recordings

of these sessions at 800-241-7785.

Nisa Muhammad and Rozario Slack will introduce their new "Black Marriage

Curriculum" in a special invited Master Session on Sat morning June 25:

> #755-401 - The Black Marriage Curriculum

> Nisa Muhammad, Rozario Slack, DMin

> Black Americans are the most unmarried group in the world. Learn to teach the

> skills, knowledge and attitudes that will reverse this trend and maintain the

> momentum.

Nisa Muhammad is the founder and director of Black Marriage Day and Wedded

Bliss and will have an Exhibit. Stop and collaborate w/ her about how

you'll celebrate Black Marriage Day in your congregation or community. And,

check out the new curriculum.

On Sat afternoon, we'll feature a combined workshop/seminar on Black

Marriage Day Celebrations and also explore ideas for how to engage

congregations of various denominations in the work.

> 755-515 - Strengthening Marriage in the Black Community

> Black Marriage Day Celebrations & Getting Denominations On Board ­

> Nisa Muhammad

Very exciting stuff, and lots more going on.....

And, because it's good to get caught up on what's gone on before, the wisdom

"upon which we are building" -- and because this set of DVDs/CDs is so

inexpensive as to almost unbelievable, you might want to order this set now

and get up to speed by June:

SPECIAL African American Marriage DVD & CD Collection

Strengthening Marriage in the Black Community

15 sessions:

10 video on 1 DVD and 5 audio -


Save $315 if purchased individually

Order Item Number: 75-bc1

Order at 800-241-7785 or at

Strengthening Marriage in the Black Community

Grand Rapids Community Marriage Policy...Mayor Bill Hardiman

Recorded at the 1998 Smart Marriages Conference

Team Parenting & The Fragile Families Network...Joe Jones

Recorded at the 1999 Smart Marriages Conference

Why Some People are Skeptical About the Marriage Agenda...Lorraine Blackman

Recorded at the 2001 Smart Marriages Conference

In the Community: Clinics, Courts & Classrooms...Judge Helen Brown & Judge

Jim Sheridan

Recorded at the 2001 Smart Marriages Conference

Opening Remarks...Admiral Barry Black, DMin, PhD

Recorded at the 2002 Smart Marriages Conference

10 Rites of Passage: Abstinence, Fatherhood & Marriage...Charles Lee Johnson

Recorded at the 2002 Smart Marriages Conference

The Marriage Movement...Rev George Young

Recorded at the 2003 Smart Marriages Conference

Reviving Marriage in the Black Community...Rozario Slack & Nisa Muhammad

Recorded at the 2003 Smart Marriages Conference

Marriage Rally...Pastor Dion Evans

Recorded at the 2004 Smart Marriages Conference

TLC for African American Couples...Pat Dixon, PhD, MBA

Recorded at the 2004 Smart Marriages Conference

5 Audio Sessions

Takes Two : Restoring the Village...Michele Goss and Norman Jones

The strengths, beliefs, and attitudes of the African-American community and

tools from the PAIRS course build trust, intimacy, communication and strong,

proud relationships. For black singles & couples. Get on the bus!

African American Marriage Enrichment Program...Lorraine Blackman, PhD

Learn to design and implement programs specific to this population through

an educational approach.

Marriage Strengthening for Low-Income, Unmarried Parents Better

Together...Judith Charlick, PhD, Krsnanandini Dasi, Tariq Ziyad

Successes and challenges of developing and implementing this 8-session

skills program.

Family Connections...Francesca Adler-Baeder, PhD, Alicia Luckie, MS

Lessons learned in one of the first federally-funded pilot projects teaching

skills to unmarried parents.

Fatherhood and Marriage...Rozario Slack, DMin, George Young, MDiv, John


Marriage has proven to be the best path to successfully and continually

engage fathers in the lives of their children. Learn about fatherhood

programs that integrate marriage education & promotion.

Strengthening Marriage in the Black Community...Linda Malone-Colon, George

Young, PhD

Understand where we¹re coming from, where we need to go and what couples

need to know to get there. We¹ll look at history, challenges and specific

ways to strengthen black marriages.


Save $315 if purchased individually

Order Item Number: 75-bc1

Order at 800-241-7785 or at




I received a call last Thursday from Tina Hervey in the White House Office

for Public Liaison. She told me that the President wanted to recognize

people doing work around marriage in the Black community. He was interested

in my program and wanted to know more. I told her about Wedded Bliss

Foundation and Black Marriage Day. She said it sounded like a success to

her and for me to expect an invitation to a Black History Month Reception at

the White House with the President.

The reception was yesterday (Tuesday, Feb 8) and I was there with Diann

Dawson from ACF. It was a very exciting experience. During the President's

speech recognizing Black History Month and the new Smithsonian Museum on

African American Culture and History he spoke about the need to strengthen

marriages and families. After his speech the group went into the reception

area where Mrs. Bush was standing.

I walked up to her and introduced myself. I told her about Wedded Bliss

Foundation and Black Marriage Day. She said, "Thank you for doing this


It was a great afternoon. Diann and I enjoyed ourselves in the East Room

and were honored to have been invited to represent marriage work being done

in the Black community.

Nisa Muhammad



By Charlene Muhammad

May 6, 2004

> This article features Nisa Muhammad who will present several times in Dallas

> including in the Sunday keynote and in a workshop - diane


> 315 - Friday, July 9, Dallas

> The Black Marriage Curriculum

> Nisa Muhammad, Rozario Slack, DMin

> Black Americans are the most unmarried group in the world. Learn to teach the

> skills, knowledge & attitudes that will reverse this trend and maintain the

> momentum.

In over 37 communities nationwide, family advocates and activists vowed to

celebrate, promote and preserve the institution of marriage on March 28,

Black Marriage Day (BMD).

"Our marriages are in serious trouble, regardless of income, education,

background, and a host of other factors. Once we had the highest marriage

rate in the country, and now, we have the lowest," stated Nisa Islam

Muhammad, founder of the Wedded Bliss Foundation and BMD, which aims to help

communities develop healthy marriages toward community empowerment.

Marriage advocates note that the covenant has been at risk for a long time.

The fact that the U.S. no longer collects detailed marriage statistics is an

example. In its October 2003 Provisional Vital Statistics Report, the

National Center for Health Statistics listed the number of 2003 marriages at

207,000, compared to 214,000 in 2002.

Despite this dilemma, Ms. Muhammad, a divorced mother of five who wanted

something better for her children, said she was tired of hearing negatives

about Black marriages, and decided to settle on the best, rather than the

poor, part of the institution.

Last year, she launched the Foundation, Black Marriage Day, and the

Community Healthy Marriage Initiatives (CHMI), all sources of support for

single, engaged or married couples, both on the brink of divorce and happily

married and looking to strengthen their tight bond.

This year, churches, community organizations and individuals from Atlanta,

Ga. to Washington, D.C., held seminars, workshops and interactive lectures

on the necessity and benefits of healthy Black marriages.

In Los Angeles, nearly 100 participants enjoyed a three-day celebration,

kicked off with a rally, says La Grande Mason of the L.A. African American

Healthy Marriage Initiative, who organized the celebration, themed

"Supporting Black Marriages and Family."

The Initiative awarded four celebrity and community couples, including Bill

and Camille Cosby, and Frank and Carrie Jones (married 64 years), in the

categories of Newlywed Couple, Encouraging Couple, Pioneer Couple, and

Lifetime Couple. The event was co-sponsored and managed by HALO Inc.(Helping

Angelinos Live Optimistic), and Sunday at Liberty Tabernacle Ministries with

a Black Marriage Day sermon by Pastor David Gross, "How A Snake Messed Up A

Good Thing."

In Washington, D.C., married and single participants who attended a one-day

seminar received informative packets that contained the Black Marriage Day

Pledge, and listings of books and websites that help foster positive


Monica 2X, whose company A First Class Affair hosted the activities, said

she understood the importance of the day, so less-than-anticipated

attendance did not hamper plans for the mini-conference.

"There is such a great need within the Black community for a day like Black

Marriage Day. We set out to give participants in our community a day of

activities that provided tools and resources that will help them on their

personal journey towards wedded bliss," she said.

According to Dr. Sheron Patterson, of Saint Paul United Methodist Church in

Dallas, not everyone believes Black marriages are in trouble or is necessary

to promote.

After hearing Ms. Muhammad speak on Black Marriage Day last year, she

decided she wanted to join in the effort, but was dismayed by the unexpected

backlash and skepticism from both single and married people on the decision

to promote strong Black marriages.

"They were agitated and angry that there was a day for married people. They

felt like we were picking on them," she said, referring to the response by

local singles.

With 20 years of experience in relationship ministries, she noted that,

while some children from single parent households fair well, that is not the

norm. Although she was not prepared for the negativity, she forged ahead

with church and citywide celebrations with a marriage enrichment seminar

called "Taking Your Marriage to the Next Level."

She said that people must realize that the whole institution of marriage is

suspect, with over 50 percent of Blacks growing up in single family homes.

Where some young people¹s parents are divorced, or were never married, the

youth do not hold marriage in high esteem, she added

Young fiances, 25-year-old Jamari and 23-year-old Monique of Oakland present

a different vision of youth and marriages.

Neither have ex-spouses or "baby mama drama." Yet, unlike the "playa" images

of promiscuity spewed in the music industry, the two embarked three months

ago on a journey toward commitment under God.

"Society wants us to keep being a player, but that is really a conflict with

what the Lord wants us to do. As the marriages go, so will the society go,"

Jamari explained. He is pleased that traditional male-female marriages are

on the "comeback" because they produce good neighborhoods.

"Marriages are not honored anymore because of the values people are being

taught now. Living together in society, having children and getting married

is a last resort," she said. She is not bashing people born out of wedlock,

she continued, but simply noting that having her father present gave her a

sense of comfort, support and guidance.

(Contact the Wedded Bliss Foundation at P.O. Box 76947, Washington, D.C.

20013 or (877) 907-0599

© Copyright 2004 FCN Publishing,



The Atlanta City Council is issuing a Black Marriage Day proclamation

by proclaiming March 20-26, 2006 as Black Marriage week in the City

of Atlanta, and urges all citizens to join in the celebrations of this

special occasion.



Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


March 17, 2006

Effort aims to unite blacks, marriage

Organizers hope events strengthen relationships

With African-Americans in the United States having high divorce

rates and far-lower-than-average marriage rates, organizers of

Milwaukee's third-annual National Black Marriage Day have expanded

their efforts as the movement continues to gain momentum across the country.

"What we have seen is a dramatic increase," said Nisa Islam Muhammad,

executive director of the Wedded Bliss Foundation Inc. in Washington,

which started the observances.

"People are catching on to the idea that it's OK to say 'marriage'

and 'black people' in the same sentence. . . . An elementary school

teacher in Atlantic City had a mock wedding for her fourth-grade

class because none of the children had ever been to a wedding, and she wanted them to be thinking about marriage at a very early age."

On or near the fourth Sunday in March, groups hold activities

ranging from dinner dances, outdoor festivals and radio-thons to

school activities and conferences with workshops for adolescents,

single adults, engaged couples, couples whose marriages are in

trouble and couples who simply want to strengthen their marriages, she said.

On the first National Black Marriage Day in 2003, events were

held in about 30 cities. That grew to about 100 cities and urban

communities by last year and is expected to rise to nearly 150 this year, she added.

The main Milwaukee celebration is set for March 25, and it won't

just be for adults. For the first time, it will include activities

and programming for children and youths, said the Rev. LeHavre Buck,

chairman of the event and pastor of Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ.

Planners expect to have storytellers, science projects for children

and other activities. There is to be a panel discussion featuring

couples who have been happily married for years, as well as workshops on

topics such as the benefits of abstaining from sex before marriage and

how to be in a healthy marriage.

"It's an uphill battle," said Mark Lawrence, who is to speak at the event.

He tries to reduce sexual activity and teen pregnancy in Milwaukee by

teaching abstinence to middle school and high school students in a

program run by OIC of America.

"Teachers, family members, the community . . . everybody has to play a

role in helping these children make healthy choices," he said.

In another change, organizers have added a conference day for counselors,

pastors and other professionals to discuss what Buck described as a

marriage crisis in the black community. Among the scheduled speakers are Buck;

Stormy Mercadel, executive vice president of the Milwaukee Women's Center;

LaTrice Buck Briggs, the center's director of behavioral health services;

and Mark Fossie, chief executive officer of M&S Clinical Services.

The conference is to run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, and Family Day

activities are set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 25, both at Hillside

Terrace Resource Center, 1452 N. 7th St. The Milwaukee African American

Healthy Marriage Initiative, a collaboration of churches, community organizations, businesses and individuals, is organizing the events.

Buck said the organizers had taken another different step this year.

Letters have been sent and contacts are being made with about 20

African-American churches in the area, asking them to bring their

members or encourage them to attend, and to preach about the value of marriage on March 26, the official national day of observance.

The reasons for doing so are compelling, Buck and Muhammad said.

National census figures show that nearly 54% of African-Americans

ages 24 to 34 have never been married, whereas the rate for other

Americans is 35%. Two out of three black couples divorce, whereas

the national rate is 50% for others.



Indiana celebrated Black Marriage Day on April 23rd. Governor Mitch Daniels

did a proclamation. In Evansville, there were at least a 1/2 dozen churches

that participated. St. John's church had the couples walk in procession at

the beginning of the service. Each lady had a corsage. The couples renewed

vows. Community Marriage Builders provided a gift to each church to present

to the couple married the longest. At St. John's Dr. Ann Gries presented

two gifts. Mr. & Mrs. Scruggs were married 55 years and Mr. & Mrs. Hughes

were married 52 year. Following the service was a meal and "wedding

reception" for the couples. The local CBS affiliate filmed the festivities.

This was the first year that Evansville celebrated this event and it was

very successful.

Ann Gries Ph.D.

Community Marriage Builders

Evansville, IN


To all coalition members:

On Saturday March 24, 2007 from 5-9 pm the City of Philadelphia, along with

other cities across the U.S., will unite together to celebrate National

Black Marriage Day.

We are asking that you support us in taking a stand for healthy marriages

and making the statement that "Marriage Does Matter within the African

American Community".

Review the attached flyer. Encourage members of your church, within your

communities, and on your jobs to participate in this evening events. We

promise to have a evening full of dancing, food, and fun!

The official Black Marriage Day is on Sunday March 25th, 2007. We encourage

you to share this time with your church and your community.

Tickets are available upon demand. ($10.00 per person)

For tickets and more information please Contact us at:

215-540-3915 or 267-688-7555 or check our website @

We "appreciate" your support.



Rob & Liz Harrison



Black Marriage Day is on or near the 4th Sunday in

March and is sponsored by Wedded Bliss Foundation. Go to: to find an event in your region.

Nisa Muhammad will receive the Smart Marriages Impact Award at the Denver

Conference at her keynote "Black Marriage Day" on Friday June 29.

Also, check out the African American track sessions track at:


And, here's an example of what's scheduled around the country.

You're invited to the Black Marriage Day celebration!

The 2000 U.S. Census indicates that Detroit had 12.5% married couples living with children under age 18. Are marriages working and this statistic is wrong? Is it right, and there is something we need to do to turn this around? Let’s talk about it . .. . Two events with one objective . . . Promoting healthy marriages to save our families!

In March, we will celebrate marriages. Married couples and singles come and join the discussion about the state of marriages among African Americans. Flyers are attached to share with friends and families. See details below:

You're invited to the Detroit Black Marriage Day celebration!

The 2000 U.S. Census indicates that Detroit had only 12.5% married couples living with children under age 18! Are marriages working and this statistic is wrong? Or, is it right, and we need to do to turn this around? Let’s talk about it . .. . Two events with one objective . . . Promoting healthy marriages to save our families!

In March, we will celebrate marriages. Married couples and singles come and join the discussion about the state of marriages among African Americans. See details below:

Black Marriage Day

Symposium and Dinner in Detroit

State of Black Marriages and Relationships

Equity in Partnership Educational Services has partnered with Detroit Parent

Network, Learning Institute of Family Education (LIFE) and Marriage Resource

Center of Wayne County to present a Black Marriage Day Symposium and Dinner.

These two events include the following:

Black Marriage Day Symposium will be held March 17, 2007, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., at Youthville, located at 7375 Woodward, in Detroit, MI.

There will be speakers and panelists who will discuss the various relationships issues impacting African American relationships. Participants will engage in breakout sessions that will allow them to focus on the following topics:

· MY BROTHER& SISTER’S KEEPER: Where do sisters and brothers stand in their relationships with themselves as well as their own gender?

· A LOOK IN THE MIRROR: What attitudes, experiences, choices, and behaviors are contributing to the success or failures in black relationships?

· THE HIP HOP & VIDEO CULTURE: Is Today’s Urban Culture influencing the treatment and expectations on the sexes in the dating game?

· YOUNG BLACK AND SUCCESSFUL, BUT WHERE IS MY MATE? Why educational, career, and financial success do not equal a desirable mate for relationships and marriages.


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