The dramatic self as a tenable identity in the lower-class Negro world is a difficult achievement. In Negro slum culture, growing up involves instead an ever-increasing appreciation of one's shortcomings, of the impossibility of finding a self-sufficient and gratifying way of living. An examination of the problems of constructing a valid identity in the lower-class Negro world highlights the adaptiveness of lower-class subcultural characteristics. Lower-class Negro Americans tend to marry fairly early rather than to go through a series of mating unions and crown their sexual careers with marriage as in the Caribbean. The two primary forces that create and maintain the lower-class Negro community are economic marginality and racial oppression. The community structure of the lower-class Negro ghetto is weak and disorganized in its ability to provide constructive support and social control over its members.