Kai Wright is features editor of The Nation magazine. He was editorial director of Colorlines from 2010 to 2014 and, after that, editor-at-large. His investigative reporting on economic inequity has closely followed by the housing and jobs crises. He is a regular commentator on National Public Radio and in other broadcast media.
Kai is author, most recently, of “Drifting Toward Love: Black, Brown, Gay and Coming of Age on the Streets of New York.” He is also the author of two books of African-American history: “The African American Experience: Black History and Culture Through Speeches, Letters, Editorials, Poems, Songs, and Stories,” and “Soldiers of Freedom: An Illustrated History of African Americans in the Armed Forces,” which explores America’s struggle with race as it has been dramatized by the need to staff a viable military.
Father Mathis’ life story highlights the centuries-long tradition of communal parenting in black families. It’s one of many cultural tools that are ignored in the handwringing over a crisis of black fatherhood.