The 1970’s was the start of the positive on-screen portrayals of Black fathers. It was a time when television studios attempted to deal with the changing Black socio-economic issues and its effects on mass media. Broadcast networks NBC, CBS and ABC had to find a way to feature positive Black family values with an African American father in tow. Often the actors and writers were chosen for their insight into and acceptance of the positively changed national perception. But, as time and society progressed, so did the image of the African American father.
Sanford and Son: 1972- 1977
Initially, Redd Foxx’s characterization of junk dealer Fred Sanford was our new era Black dad on the classic TV sitcom “Sanford & Son.” Full of hard fought wisdom and love, this senior citizen dad presented us with profoundly funny insights. As a retiree and business owner Fred Sanford expressed his rights to free speech, one of which was his views on race. Never truly insulting, but always insightful, Fred G. Sanford was a dad many could identify with although he made errors in judgment for all to see. From quick scams, loose women, hard drinking and the sabotaging of relationships, Fred Sanford was horribly flawed and we loved him all the more for that.