Death is a universal phenomenon; yet, reactions to death are uniquely diverse. Handling the loss of a loved one has the potential to completely change how an individual sees their world, and their response to death can vary by race, religion, gender, and culture. The bereavement process in many ways is culturally guided, and understanding how culture guides the bereavement process through rituals is imperative. Despite cultural difference, responses to death within the academic community are only representative of one group of people. This study looks at funeral rituals seen within the African American community, and addresses possible meanings behind the rituals discussed. Through the use of focus groups participants were asked about their experiences while attending African American funerals the meaning behind specific rituals. It was found that within African American funerals there are certain acts that hold special significance for the community and work to strengthen the community. Funerals have a larger symbolic meaning to the African American community and those symbols and meanings are discussed within this study.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Communication; Interpersonal Communications
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
(Grant) Graham, Danielle, ""Sealing the Bond": A Qualitative Study of African American Funeral Rituals" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5123.