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Association of Black Psychologist

Dr. Joseph L. White:  The Godfather of Black Psychology

Black History: Special Delivery!!

joseph l white
Dr. Joseph L. White (1932-2017)

Dr. Joseph L. White (1932-2017) was a researcher, educator, and clinical psychologist. White is hailed as the “Godfather of Black Psychology”. He adamantly opposed the” implicit whiteness” within the field of psychology. White challenged the American Psychological Association (APA) by founding the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) in 1968. He did so to challenge the APA on its lack of diversity. At the time less than 1% of APA’s 10,000 members were black. He worked diligently with his colleagues to develop a bibliography of documents on black psychology. His 1970 article in Ebony Magazine, Toward A Black Psychology, challenged the American Psychological Association on its 78-year history of characterizing black people as being deviant and lacking intelligence. White asserts in the article that psychological theory as developed by white psychologists was not applicable to black people. White’s challenge was a major catalyst in the movement for cross-cultural psychology that would highlight the intersection of culture and psychological processes.

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Dr. Robert Lee Williams II:  African American Psychologist Who Developed An IQ Test For African American Students & Promoted “Ebonics” as an African American Dialect

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Dr. Robert Lee Williams, II (1930 – Present)

Robert Lee Williams II (1930-present) is a pioneer in the field of American psychology. He is well known for his efforts in educating African American children as well as studying cultural bias against African American students present in standardized testing with a focus on IQ tests. Williams was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. His father worked as a millwright and died when Williams was 5 years old. His mother worked as a domestic. After high school, he attended Dunbar Junior College in Arkansas. He dropped out after a year because he was discouraged by a low IQ test he received. Williams married Ava L. Kemp in 1948. They have 8 children.

Williams later enrolled at Philander Smith College where he graduated in 1953. He then went to Wayne State University in Detroit, MI where he obtained a master’s degree in educational psychology in 1955. He later went on to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology at Washington University in St. Louis in 1961. He served as the Assistant Chief Psychologist for the Veterans Administration Hospital in St. Louis from 1961-1966. William held several other professional roles as well. In September 1968, he helped to organize the Association of Black Psychologists. The death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 sparked a wave of increased consciousness for Williams regarding his racial identity and the racial identity of African Americans as a whole.

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