In 1968, a revolutionary group of black scholars came together to advocate for racial and economic equity in psychology. Their defiance led to the founding of the National Association of Black Psychologists, or ABPsi (ab-psy).
ABPSi is now the most esteemed congregation of Black voices in psychology. Its 49th annual convention was held in Houston, Texas on July 19, 2017. Here’s some highlights you should know about this transformative organization.
1.vAfrican American Psychologists Rebelled To Form ABPsi
The founding members of ABPSi had grown disillusioned with the APA’s complicity with white racism. They founded the ABPSi to educate, organize, and deploy Black talent, something the APA feared to do.
2. ABPsi Wrote The Book on African-Centered Psychology
By 1974, ABPsi began publishing the Journal of Black Psychology and developing ideas that would reshape psychology. They developed the idea of Black/African Centered psychology, a a collection of “unifying African principles, values, and traditions” that “allow for the illumination and liberation of the Spirit”.
3. The National Association of Black Psychologists is Truly Africa-Centered
During the early 1990s, ABPSi began a plan to “retrace the middle passage through Atlanta, South Carolina, and back through the door of no return in Ghana.” In 2000, the journey brought that year’s annual convention to Accra, the capital of Ghana. The journey was led by Dr. Mawiyah Kambon, who led over 500 ABPsi psychologists and their families on the unprecedented cultural pilgrimage.
The theme of the event was Sankofa: The Healers’ Journey. The pilgrimage is repeated each year, and is documented on the web blog www.sankofa.com.
4. ABPsi Has Already Narrowing The Gap Between Black and White Psychologists
Early ABPsi leaders put incredible scrutiny and spotlight on APA practices. By 1969, many white psychologists were acknowledging that, “historically much of the activities of psychologists in the Black communities could be labeled racist or the misuse of knowledge and power.”
As the ABPsi’s independent activism exposed chinks in the APA’s armor, schools and institutions gradually succumbed to ABPsi recommendations for diversity and equity in admissions.
This Has Only Been the Beginning
By 2013, about 5.4 percent of the psychology workforce identified as Black. This over double the figure reported in 2005 (2.4%). The organization still has work to do, but momentum is now on the side of equity.