The year 1968, sparked an uprise within the Black community, specifically as a result of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and of US Presidential Candidate Robert Kennedy, riots were formed as a consequence of the death of these two prominent leaders (Williams, 2008). Within these riots, Black consciousness began to arise. This Black consciousness recognizes the need to up rise for Black power, Black success, Black pride, Black determination, and Black resilience (Williams, 2008). The formation of the Association of Black Psychology (APB) was formed on September 2, 1968 during the need for Black uprise, which was a domino effect from the confusion of racial disparities within the United States of America (Williams, 2008).
More than 200 Black psychologists congregated at the national organization American Psychological Association in San Francisco (Williams, 2008). These Black psychologists held prestigious various roles such as academic, industrial, and government officials. The purpose of their congregation was to develop a nationwide structure to take on the challenge of racism and poverty amongst the Black population (Williams, 2008).
These psychologists presented the notion that American Psychological Association failed to recognize the Black movement, specifically establishing their movement as the most ethical and honorable for solving concerns for Black Americans who experience disadvantages, oppression, and racism.
Association of Black Psychologist charged the lack of cultural considerations within the American Psychological Association (Williams, 2008). The Black Psychological Association made it their mission to have larger national organizations, specifically having the American Psychological Association recognize that people of APB that they were Black people first and psychologist second.
Therefore, within that recognition it establishes that their experience differs from those of the majority culture, or individuals who fit the norm characteristics of the psychologist from American Psychological Association (Williams, 2008). The Association of Black Psychologist recognized American Psychological Association ability to disregard the Black experience (Williams, 2008). The Association of Black Psychologist sought to address in the future concerns for Black students and professionals in field of psychology. Additionally, there will be a focus within this association will bring about improving training and competency for people of color (Williams, 2008).
At the American Psychological Association national meetings, Dr. Charles W. Thomas and Dr. Robert Green were elected as chairmen of the Black Psychology Association (Williams, 2008). Together they formulated the major concerns they sought to absolve during their time as leaders. Concerns were described as the follow:
“(1) The American Psychological Association (APA) has not related to the needs of the Black community; (2) APA has used the Black community as a resource for research and has never utilized its own resources to assist the Black community in overcoming the effects of white racism; and (3) APA has failed to utilize its resources to eradicate racism within the white community (Williams, 2008, p.3)”
These proposed concerns and leaders Dr. Charles Thomas and Dr. Robert Green would make it their mission to resolve concerns.
Submission & Acceptance to American Psychological Association
Dr. Green and Dr. Thomas as leaders, within the early stages of the Association of Black Psychologists, formulated a petition of concerns from their association, which was submitted to the American Psychological Association (Williams, 2008). Their document was described as major concerns of the Association of Black Psychologists propose for the American Psychological Association should place the light on. The immediate concerns were:
These presented concerns were followed by a purposed solution, which could have been implemented by the American Psychological Association (Williams, 2008). The proposed solution entailed seven positive provisions (Williams, 2008). First, to endorse the Kerner Commission’s report on Civil disorders, which emphasized understanding injustices, inequality within the United States (Williams, 2008). Second, the American Psychological Association formulate an internal organizational structure to provide representation for the Black community (Williams, 2008). The recommended American Psychological Association develop policies to support the Black community and Black psychologists. Third, that the American Psychological Association provides resources to find solutions to racism and poverty (Williams, 2008). Fourth, that the American Psychological Association created a committee to observe the usage of standardized psychological instruments amongst Black youth, specifically understanding the effectiveness of instruments on diverse samples (Williams, 2008).
Fifth, that the American Psychological Association reviews the effectiveness of training within clinical and counseling psychology for social concerns such as poverty (Williams, 2008). Sixth, they sought for American Psychological Association to take steps to increase Black students within undergraduate and graduate programs that were psychologically focused (Williams, 2008). Finally, the seventh solution was to implement and evaluate the progress of the proposed solutions for the American Psychological Association (Williams, 2008). Overall the concerns addressed three major areas, (1) low number of a Black professional In the field of psychology, (2) lack of scientific energy towards social concerns such as poverty and racism, and (3) lack of representation of Black psychologist with the American Psychologist Association(Williams, 2008).
The response of the American Psychological Association was considered by Williams as noncommittal. It appears the American Psychological Association was unprepared for these concerns did not feel equipped to tackle these concerns proposed by the Association of Black Psychologists. Therefore, during the remaining time of Leaders Thomas and Green, was spent on denouncing racism and the American Psychological Association uplifting Black pride through their organization (Williams, 2008). Upon the newly elected chairman Henry Tom, he formulated the Black Student Psychological Association with the leader and chairman Dr. Robert Williams. Within Williams leadership established various new endeavors. First, the establishment of Black graduate student affairs, second establishment a minimum of 20% of entering graduate students in psychology each year (Williams, 2008). Third, the establishment of university programs of Black student’s concerns, fourth Black applicants for graduate training in psychology is screened for Black Graduate Student Affairs (Williams, 2008). Fifth through tenth overall observed Black applicants process and providing recourses for them (Williams, 2008). These recommendations were only implemented within 35 programs within the United States, which revealed there is much work to be done.
Black Psychological Association eventually introduce a woman leader in 1976, Dr. King was the first female president-elect for this organization (Holiday, 2009). Next, in 1970 the first article was written in the area of Black psychology, of which was the first broadly circulated publications. Furthermore, in 1974 the Journal of Black Psychology was established by the Black Psychological Associations (Holiday, 2009). The journal’s aim was to continue the publication of scholarly psychological works that understand the experience of Black populations. Eventually, Black Psychological Association organized its first international meetings in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
The Black Psychological Association became a role model for future organizations, specifically ethnic minorities (Black Psychology, 2017). First, with the creation of the Association of Psychologist Por La Raza in 1970 by Dr. Edward Casavantes a Mexican American psychologist. By the end of the 1970s, this organization reformulated and created the National Hispanic Psychological Association, which was renamed the National Latino Psychological Association (Black Psychology, 2017). The Asian American Psychological Association and Society of Indian Psychologists followed suit (Black Psychology, 2017).
Currently, the Association of Black Psychologists is committed to their same mission and vision. Recently, they have highlighted new initiatives within their organization (APA, 2019). First, the pen and pencil program of which highlights delivering a culturally based community and school group mentoring program (APA, 2019). Next, the Emotional Emancipation Circle is emphasized by the Association of Black Psychologists. This program emphasizes self-focused groups focused on emotional emancipation, healing, and wellness of Black people. There were a focus on the War on Drugs, culturally grounded mental health solutions (APA, 2019). Finally, they continue to grow, evolve, and maintain the Journal of Black Psychology. Learning this history was intriguing and interesting, I am happy I took the time to understand this association especially due to being a member of it.
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