Black Marital Relationships Course - Hampton University -12/03
cmfce at smartmarriages.com
Tue Dec 16 22:00:31 EST 2003
subject: Black Marital Relationships Course - Hampton University -12/03
from: Smart Marriages [R]
I recently attended a conference with Linda Malone-Colon where we discussed
the Black Marital Relationships course she teaches. I asked her to send me
the class evaluations. I've just read them and think I should share these
with the list....we all need inspiration like this!
Prof Malone-Colon was part of the Reno Smart Marriages workshop on Teaching
Marriage classes to undergrads (the tape or CD of which I HIGHLY recommend
to you - $15 at 800-241-7785) and has agreed to chair that panel discussion
in Dallas. Here's last year's workshop description. - diane
> Teaching Marriage Classes to Undergrads
> Les Parrott, PhD, Arthur Neilson, MD, Dennis Lowe, PhD, Linda Malone-Colon,
> PhD, John Wu, EdD, Linda Young, PhD
> Explore ideas about how to make marriage courses more interesting and
> meaningful in the lives - and future marriages - of students. Bring curricula
> and materials for exchange.
BLACK MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS COURSE
Student Responses/Evaluations of Class
Candace Best 9/21/03 Enrolled Spring, 2003 (Age: 21, New York, NY)
Dr. Malone-Colon, I just wanted to let you know how blessed I feel to have
had the opportunity to be a student in your Black Marital Relationships
class. I find myself talking about it all the time. I can honestly say
that that class was one of the best classes that I had during my 4 years at
Hampton, if not the best. . . . . I really think that Black Marital
Relationships should be mandatory for all students, especially those in the
Social Sciences. I also wanted to let you know that I am continuing to use
your questionnaire for married couples. I am hoping to one day have a
library of interviews.
The students listed below were enrolled Fall, semester, 2003:
Jonquin T. Stringer 12/8/03 (Age: 21, Home: Chesapeake, VA)
Rarely in a student¹s matriculation through an institution of higher
learning is there a course offered that is both eye opening and a challenge
to the mind. Every year students are required to take courses in
Mathematics, History, and English that may open their eyes to equations,
significant events, and literary mechanisms that they learned a long time
ago but just need to be sparked in order to resurface. However none of
these relatively rudimentary courses seem to take on the awesome task of
challenging the mind. Although once in a while there comes along a course
that successfully combines opening up the world visually and mentally in
order to educate, inspire, and encourage. This past semester at Hampton
University I was able to take one of these courses and the results were,
lets say - everlasting.
This past fall semester I had the privilege of taking a Black Marital
Relationships course as a part of my psychology curriculum at Hampton
University. The course was designed to explore the dynamics of the union of
marriage and what specific elements are needed to produce a long and
successful marriage. More importantly the course was primarily directed at
examining the growth and status of marriage within the African American
community. The course opened my eyes by showing me that even though African
Americans have endured so much throughout the course of history, as a
people, we are seemingly losing the battle to keep marriage within our
community strong. The class demonstrated this conclusion by presenting
statistics and testimonies that showed how African Americans are
cohabitating more, trusting each other less, and marrying even less. The
class challenged my mind by showing me that even though there are multiple
problems that have arisen within the institution of marriage in the African
American community these problems have solutions that will begin to be
implemented STARTING WITH MY GENERATION. This class taught me to challenge
the statistics that suggest that two young African Americans in love cannot
make it without submitting to infidelity, mistrust, and ultimately
detachment from those who care. This class challenged me to look at
marriage as being more than a product of just love. From this class, I was
able to see that marriage is trust, commitment, encouragement, longevity,
strengths, weaknesses, differences, similarities, and love. Finally this
class taught me that marriage is not unattainable by the African American
community because we are a people who are rooted in principles such as
communication, dedication, and love; all of which are important components
in building and maintaining a strong and lasting marriage.
Howard Crumpton 12/8/03 (Age: 21, Home: Oakland, CA)
The class was a complete success in my opinion. . . . It served as an
astounding addition to the class courses by teaching us as African-Americans
not only about ourselves in relationships, but about ourselves personally
and how we have developed the characteristics that are seen in our
relationships. I have more than enjoyed the activities in which we
participated, and even more so the discussions. The problems that I would
face in my own household I analyzed more clearly and was able to address the
root of the problem with confidence and newly internalized knowledge.
I could, without question, boast and brag about the exceptional class
that I attended at Hampton University just as Scottie Pippen could brag
about playing with Michael Jordan. But could either of them brag about their
dynasty without the expertise coaching of Phil Jackson? Analogous in nature,
Dr. Malone-Colón was the class¹ Phil Jackson. We bounce-passed concepts,
dribbled ideas, and practiced communicative lay-ups our coach emphasized
the small points that helped us see the bigger ones better. The book
informed, but her delivery opened our eyes and understanding we were all
made better players, on and off the court¹. I would recommend not only this
class, but this professor to any student at any University, or even someone
that is looking to gain insight on relationships, who we are in
relationships, and how we act as Blacks in relationships. Colleges and
courses make up a university, but the people make it an experience. Dr.
Malone-Colón was and still is the perfect person for this experience.
Brandon O. Evans 12/7/03 (Age: 19, Home: Bronx, NY)
This class was simply amazing. I learned a lot from other people¹s
experiences and I hope that I had an influence on everyone else¹s life in
the class. This class was great because it was real. It was authentic. It
was young, black men and women, learning how to be better young black men
and women, and how to be better to each other.
I have to say that the last day of class was my favorite class
experience in the three years I¹ve been at Hampton. It was beautiful in its
simplicity and empowering in its message. I left that class feeling like a
man should feel everyday of his life, important, respected, loved, and
wanted. It was beautiful to see the time and effort that was put in to each
presentation for our fellow black brothers and sisters.
I feel that this class should be a requirement for every student that
attends a HBCU. I realized the importance of being Black and united, in not
just friendship, but in marriage, in this class. If we are to overcome all
the odds against us, we must do it in a united front. It must start at
home, but in order to ensure that it starts at home there needs to be a
complete family in place. It should be one that instills values and morals,
and the desire to strive to be better as a person and not so much
I love the way we were able to sit and communicate openly without
judging, arguing, or chastising one another. We were able to talk on all
types of topics, and show each other support in a little classroom,
meanwhile the whole world around us argues, wars, and destroys each other
over the same topics.
. . . Thursday I left the class feeling a great sense of
accomplishment, a little sense of sadness because it was all over, but an
even greater sense of Pride. I left feeling proud that I was a part of
something so wonderful. I left feeling proud that I was a strong, black,
intelligent young man, and more importantly I left feeling proud that one
day I will be the right man for my Black Queen. Thank you, Dr. Malone-Colon
from the bottom of my heart.
Nisha McPherson 12/8/03 (Age: 21, Home: Baltimore, MD)
This was a very informative course and Dr. Malone-Colon is an excellent
professor. The lectures were always organized. The class was always given
ample opportunities to ask questions. Open discussion during class time was
always encouraged. Dr. Malone-Colon valued our opinions, she encouraged
each individual to participate and share how they felt about certain topics.
I would recommend this class to everyone, no matter what their major.
It was a good experience. The class was divided up into quads where we had
to bring our personal family experiences to each other and talk about our
similarities and differences. I learned a lot about the individuals in my
family as well as my classmates. The diversity within the class was
unbelievable. Everyone¹s story was different and unique to that person. My
mind just became open to a whole new world.
I already had a positive outlook on black families somewhat but this
course just gave me a better understanding of African American families and
my positivity has increased. . . . I can see the change already. I see it
in myself and I see it in the individuals in the class. The class made
everyone, not only look at themselves married in the future but it made them
reflect on themselves at the present moment. The change begins right now in
the present and the future will fall correctly into place.
I have a new perspective on relationships now and its all because of
my Black Marital Relationships class.
Courtney Maria Savoy 12/8/03 (Age: 20, Home: Columbia, MD
One of my most interesting classes this semester has been my Black
Marital Relationships and I want to thank you, Professor Dr. Linda
Malone-Colon for your insight into how to make the average college student
sit up and take notice. . . . The laid-back atmosphere and open
deliberations about the topics of the class encouraged me to speak and
contribute to the over all class discussions.
When we spoke about the Black family life, I saw my own parents and how
they approach life. I saw how I would like my life to evolve when I get
married. When we talked about having a strong work ethic and building self
esteem, I saw myself and remembered many of the things that my family told
me. I saw my brothers in the discussions about young Black men and what
they have to deal with every day if nothing more than DWB (driving while
Black). I grew up in what my brother describes as "Utopia" where everything
seems to be perfect. I have learned that many things are not perfect in the
scheme of life and I now have a better understanding of male and female
roles, race relationships, cultural and ethnic differences and family
And what I have learned I will take with me and continue to pass it on.
After the class I have signed up to be in groups and workshops to help
strengthen black marriages. I understand this issue is extremely important
and I am willing to learn even more.
This class was a real inspiration to me.
Kia Garlington 12/08/03 (Age: 21, Home: Waterbury, CT)
At the beginning of the fall semester I was dealing with the recent
separation of my parents and although I was excited about taking the Black
Marital Relationships course, I was nervous. I noticed immediately that the
overwhelming majority of my classmates had married parents in their home.
As the semester progressed I became more comfortable sharing my experiences
and I took a personal interest in the information I learned. My negative
outlook on marriage slowly changed as I began to realize the multitude of
benefits that go along with healthy marriages. When Dr. Malone-Colon¹s
husband came to speak to the class I observed how they interacted and the
praise that they gave one another. Kindness seemed to be a common theme in
the success stories I encountered. The married couple interview allowed me
to ask questions of my aunt and uncle and gain an intimate view of what
makes their marriage work. I realized that I was lucky to have my parents
and my aunt and uncle¹s marriage as a reference point that I can use to make
my own marriage successful. This discussion format of the class displayed
the opinions of Black men from different backgrounds and many of their
comments were not so different from my own thought and concerns. The class
emphasized the importance of unity between African American men and women
and the importance of honoring each other. Black Marital Relationships
proved to be a valuable experience and equipped me with knowledge to bring
into my future relationships and eventually into my marriage.
Chanel N. Petersen 12/08/03 (Age: 21, Home: Brooklyn, NY)
"When you know better you do better". Prior to taking Black Marital
Relationships, I was hesitant to take this course, uncertain of how
applicable it would be to my personal life. After several unsuccessful
relationships, I was very distrustful of men, and had practically given up
hope on finding my soul mate. To my surprise, this course has helped me to
see that the phrase "perfect man", may not exist, but that the "perfect man
for me" does in fact exist. Although, Black Americans in particular, tend
to be at the low end of many statistics ranging from unemployment, prison,
crime, drug abuse and marital failure, this course has strengthened the
notion that there is hope for our future relationships.
The quote "when you know better, you do better", refers to this course
because through educating our people about ways to enhance and improve their
relationships, we as people will have healthier and lasting relationships.
Throughout the semester, hearing the opinions of my peers shed light to many
issues that occur in the lives of young adults. Although the statistics
were alarming, ultimately men and women want the same things in life such as
success, peace, love and stability.
I really enjoyed all the inputs of the males in the class; in
particular, Brandon and Scott. Brandon really made good points about the
interaction between males and females. In particular, he made a statement
about the unrealistic expectations females place on males. This made me
take note, that while setting standards for myself is good; setting them too
high is unhealthy and idealistic. Scott, although philosophical at times,
really had some good points, and made you think about things, long after
leaving the classroom. This course has helped me to put my perspectives on
love, marriage and relationships in order, and has helped to increase my
self awareness. In particular, the discussion on conversational gender
differences gave me an eye-opening awakening and has encouraged me to change
the way in which I interact with males. Fortunately, I was able to apply
these changes to my relationships sooner, than later.
Unlike many other Psychology courses, you can actually walk away from
this class with a satisfying feeling of knowledge and hope. I personally
liked the design of the classroom. It was not solely based on research and
statistics, but rather incorporated recent findings and encouraged
Overall, I would highly recommend this course to others. It provides
you with the basic fundamentals or building blocks to maintain healthy
relationships. Looking back and reflecting on this course, I feel better
equipped and prepared to enter my next relationship. I would challenge all
non-believers of marriage, as well as encourage those who are believers, to
take this course. This is definitely not a course to be looked at, as just
another Psychology elective, but rather a course to provide students for
tools to enter the complex, but necessary world of love and marital
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