Black Dads Matter: The Power of Present and Active Fathers

Fathers who are present and active make a difference.

Black Dads Matter: The Power of Present and Active Fathers

As the world celebrated all the fathers on Sunday, we would like to highlight the many present and active black fathers. Today’s society often portrays black fathers as either absent, or completely inept when it comes to raising children. Moreover, the media portrays black dads in a negative light and often depicts them as unfit to be fathers, but research proves otherwise. 


Having active and present black fathers promotes healthy child development, fosters independent youth, and strengthens communities. There is a common notion that mothers matter more than fathers. For the development of a child, fathers' active involvement is just as critical as mothers' involvement. 


A father's relationship with a child is an instrumental part of that child's development. Fathers have a significant influence on a child's physical, social, and emotional development, as well as on the parent-child relationship. 


Statistics indicate that Black fathers are among the most active and involved parents in society. Through education, support, and encouragement, let us show support to all the active and present dads, so they can feel empowered, supported, and appreciated. 


Additionally, providing support and encouragement to black dads can change the public and cultural image of Black fathers. According to research, more and more "Black Dads Matter" organizations are being formed in order to bring additional visibility to fathers and their efforts to be involved with their kids, whether by birth or by mentorship. 


Black fathers, who are present and active in their families, are unapologetically dedicated to their children. It is time for society to recognize and honor them for being positive role models and making a positive impact on the lives of their children.  


So do not let Father's Day be the only day to honor fathers, especially the active and loving black fathers. Let’s encourage black dads around the world more by thanking them and acknowledging their impact. 


An expression of gratitude to the present and active dads that have sacrificed so much for the betterment of their families, children, and others. Thank you to all the dads who empowered and encouraged not only their families, children, but kids that were not biologically yours.



Tributes and letters of gratitude to Dads that have made an incredible difference in the lives of their family, children, and spiritual children.


1. Dr. Oscar J. Nelson Dowdell-Underwood

From A Daughter’s Heart:


Daddy-O. I am aware that this word sounds very youthful coming from a 21-year-old female; yet that is who you are. The hard truth is that our past and present world, there are not too many Black fathers around. Since the beginning of time, Black men who are fathers, sons, uncles, and brothers have faced slavery, incarceration, brutality, and death. With this, not too many young girls can have the heart of a daughter, because it was never nourished and protected by her father. Unfortunately, when a daughter lacks this nourishment and protection, it can be very difficult for her heart to grow into a purposed-adult one. For me, it is a different story. I’ve watch you give the clothes off your back, work feverishly through the night, and ensure that there was food on the table and happiness in our hearts. You made it home every night and kept your eye on the goal. Words cannot express the gratitude that I have for you, and it is a blessing that I even have the comfortability of calling you daddy. A word so innocent and a word that many women will never use. I thank GOD for each breath that you take and for each step that you make on our society today. Moreover, GOD has blessed me in many ways than one, and the initial blessing came when he chose you as my father. From my heart to yours Daddy-O, I love you and you have made me the proudest daughter on this earth.

Your daughter,

Jylian Y Underwood.



To My Spiritual Dad, Dr. Oscar J. Nelson Dowdell-Underwood:

I would like to acknowledge Dr. Oscar J Nelson Dowdell-Underwood Underwood, my spiritual father, that speaks to the princess in me. He teaches me to love, to look through the lens of Grace, to dream, and to believe that I can still do it. Also, that I have a possible life in Christ Jesus. I couldn’t let this opportunity to pass without acknowledging my spiritual dad. Dr. Oscar J. Nelson Dowdell-Underwood has played a phenomenal role in my life.

Your spiritual daughter, 

Nina Nelson



To My Spiritual Dad, Dr. Oscar J. Nelson Dowdell-Underwood:

Words can’t express the gratitude that I have for you. You have always been there to encourage me, teach me, pray for me, and give me words of wisdom. You are the father that I needed in my life when I started to doubt everything about myself.  God truly knew what I needed to keep going in my life. You are a true example of a father every girl wants in life and every boy desire to be. I know you already know how much I love you, but I want the world to know I wasn’t just blessed with one father I was blessed with two. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and accepting me as your own.  


Kecia Williams 


To Grandpa, Dr. Oscar J. Nelson Dowdell-Underwood:

I can’t begin to thank you enough for the impact and role you’ve played in my life. About seven years ago, when I said I do to your grandson, you became my grandfather. As my grandfather, you accepted me and treated me like my own. In becoming the woman God created me to be and achieving the many successes in my life, you played a pivotal role. You have always supported and encouraged me, and that has meant the world to me. You are a rare and precious gift I didn’t even know how to pray or ask GOD for. You are the grandfather many wish they had. Your heart for humanity, GOD, and your family is inspiring. You've sacrificed your love, time, money, clothes, and home not just for me, but for so many others as well. Over the years, you've always encouraged me to keep GOD first, pursue my dreams, walk in love, and always be excellent for King. I can't thank you enough for every teaching, word of encouragement, prayer, and encounter with you. While some may say I am lucky to have you as my grandfather, I say I am truly blessed and honored to call you, my grandfather. You are an amazing husband, dad, granddad, great-granddad, and spiritual father.  I want to thank you for being an amazing grandfather, spiritual father, pastor, mentor, and teacher to me. I love you so much, grandpa!!! 

Your granddaughter,

Dr. Leticia Starks-Underwood



2. Dr. Oscar Ja'Marqis Underwood, III

To my husband:

 I can't even begin to express my gratitude to God for you. You are an incredible husband and father. Thank you for always supporting your family and encouraging us to chase after GOD! Your presence has made an incredible difference in the lives of your family. Thank you for loving, protecting, and covering us like you. Dr. Jay, you have inspired your family with how you have grown into the man of GOD you are today. Thank you for truly being a man of GOD and leading our home. I thank GOD for choosing you to be my husband and the father of our children. I can't wait to see what GOD has in store for you. I love you, baby!

Your wife,

Dr. Leticia Starks-Underwood



3. Vernie Starks

To my dad: 

The first man to show me what a father looks like. As a child and as an adult, you have always been a part of my life. Many believe I am spoiled, but I am blessed. I never had to worry about growing up without a father because you were always there for me. Due to the love, you have consistently shown for your family, I never had to question your love. Throughout your life, you have sacrificed and worked for your family. I love you more than words can express. You have always supported me and my dreams. You always encourage me to follow GOD and do what GOD is calling me to do. Daddy, you are an amazing husband, dad, and grandfather. Love you always, dad.

Your daughter, 

Dr. Leticia Starks-Underwood 



4. Tracy Naylor

To my bonus dad:

I am so blessed to have you in my life. Since I said I do to your son, you haven't treated me any differently than your daughter. You have encouraged and supported me. You have embraced and loved me in ways many wished they could be loved. Thank you for always loving me as your own. Your genuine love for Christ and devotion to GOD is very inspiring. You are an amazing husband, dad, and grandfather and I appreciate you being in my life. Love you, dad!

Your daughter, 

Dr. Leticia Starks-Underwood


5. Antonio Moore

To my dad:

There is so much one can say concerning the positive impact that one has, with having a dad in their life. As I am growing up, becoming more aware, heading off to college, and being on my own there are so many life lessons and wisdom that is being reused. Having a father figure in my life is one of the most precious gifts that GOD gave me. The endless unconditional love, the walks, the talks, the prayers, and the forgiveness that he has given me even when I mess up. Having a father figure has shown me what I need in anyone. A friendship, a relationship, a husband, etc. The example, that he has given me with respecting others in disagreements, and allowing one to always see his fruits of the spirit be shown, is one of the best examples in life, the kindness in his heart has never diluted towards anyone, the calmness, the ease, the impeccable amount of patience just pushes me to want to be a better me, Becoming the Version Me. All for GOD'S Glory.

Thank You Dad, I love You.

Your daughter, 

Edyn Moore


6. Emmanuel Evans

To a wonderful dad: 

I wanted to highlight a special young man by the name of Emmanuel. He is the proud father of a two-year-old that is the light of his life. I have watched this young man take care of my cousin during her pregnancy by waiting on her, encouraging her, uplifting her, and supporting her. He is a hardworking man that takes the wellbeing of his family seriously. He is a loving "Doddy" as his daughter Novah calls him. He is her Prince and fierce protector from all boo boos and imaginary dragons. 

He has put in the time to finish his graduate degree to help better support his family. He has also afforded the opportunity for his now fiancé' to go back to school and not have to worry about work. 

Emmanuel is an amazing father and soon to be husband. I couldn't be happier to have him as a new member of our family. I look forward to watching their family grow and prosper with him at the helm. 


Rani Taylor


 7. Ephraim Smiley 

To my dad:

Many people say they have the best dad ever, but they don’t come close to the dad I have. To my dad. The one who is always there even when I don’t always want him to be. The one I can call about anything and everything, especially boy and friend drama. The one I can know I can rely on when help is needed. The person who doesn’t just say he loves me but shows it. To the person who taught me how to show honor and respect. How to love and receive love. To the person who never counted me out. Who showed me how to go from just good to great. The one who continues to push me to my potential. To my dad, I thank you for being there time and time again. As I’ve gotten older, we’ve created lots of core memories and as time goes on, I can’t wait to create more. You deserve everything good coming your way Pops! I couldn’t be more grateful for the touch GOD has on your life to the point of impacting mine. Pops, I love you more than you know.

Love your daughter,



8. Nathaniel Mitchell

To my dad:

My Father Nathaniel Mitchell or who most people so lovingly call him Nate. Is a devoted father and husband. He and my mother met in high school and have been married for 52 years. He Is the most hard-working, selfless, loving, charming, thoughtful, funny, caring, laid-back God-fearing person you will ever meet. He is a man of his word, if said it he meant it. You can count on him to always come through with a helping hand, a listening ear, a big smile, and an encouraging word.  He is the middle child of 9 children. At age 11 his father was killed in a car accident. Which forced him to grow up sooner than most and help his mother with his siblings. As a teen, my father was a part of the civil rights movement and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery to fight for blacks to have the right to vote.  I am forever grateful for his bravery and courage.

Like many others in Fort Wayne, my dad migrated from Marion Alabama in the '70s in search of a better life. My dad has always made sure he provided for the family. Words could never explain how good and loving he is to us. He has made so many sacrifices. He has come out of retirement just to go back to work to provide for his family. Never selfish. Always giving and humble. A true definition of father... He has always been there from day one. Dressing us girls for school, trying to comb and style our hair, cooking us breakfast, and even making sure our eyebrows looked right. Checking on us at school, and even with two jobs he would call and make sure we were ok. I can never repay him for everything he has taught me, but the most precious gift my father has given me is his belief in me! He has always told me that with hard work I could be anything and do anything and when others even questioned him. He would simply say "Yes she can because I taught her how."  Till this day that is instilled deep inside of me and when life gets tough. I just think to myself, yes, I can because my father said I can. I love you, dad! I am proud to be your daughter.


 Natasha and Tiffany


 9. Marvin Johnson 

To my husband:

The influence my husband has on my life is one of great impact as well as on my children. He is an amazing father. In addition to instructing me and encouraging me to strive for the best, he also encourages our children to do the same. My husband is my champion because he has inspired me to be the person I am today. My husband's strength and tenacity encourage me to never limit or stop myself, but to always move forward. I am very appreciative of the support my husband gives my children and me. 


Dartanya Johnosn 

10. Darren Parrish 

To my husband: 

A letter of gratitude to you….thank you for Darren for your labor of love and Godly leadership. Without question or a second thought you lead our family under Gods anointing; and that has created a life your children and I have come to know that is rich in love, joy, honor, stability, safety, and most importantly God-centered. We don’t take you for granted. You carry the weight of each of our worlds on your back, and never utter a complaint. You are an amazing, amazing, man and our children and I are blessed to live a life experiencing the love God uniquely designed for you to give. You are a black dad who matters! We love you and Happy Father’s Day


Ashley Parrish


11. Ronald L. Sims

To my hero in heaven!

My daddy, Ronald L Sims, the man God chose to bring me into an earthly purpose. My hero, my first love, and my life. Even though he left when I was seven, he was there to give me the best love in the most important years of life. I will forever be a daddy's girl, his princess, the bundle of joy he desired. My dad played a phenomenal role in my life. Although my dad may be gone, I still would like to acknowledge his presence and the difference he made in my life with his short time on earth. Love, 

Nina Nelson


12. Vernie Starks, Jr. 

To my love: 

Happy Father’s Day Vern. Thank you for being the best dad to our son. I love watching how happy you get when he learns different words and when he reaches milestones. I love that you’re growing with him and elevating yourself as a father to be the best father for him. Thank you for working hard and not only working for our son present but working hard for his future.  

You are appreciated,