Blackipedia is a bi-weekly CASSIUS feature that takes a fun approach to exploring Black history, slang, and culture. In May (#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth), we’re honoring Black and brown mental health pioneers. Get ready to learn something—and tell a friend!
Joseph L. White
[joh–zuh f el hwahyt]
- Joseph L. White was known as the “godfather of psychology.” Not only did he found the Association of Black Psychologists, but he was also instrumental in creating the first Black Studies Program during the 1968 strike at San Francisco State University.
- As ActiveMinds.org explains,” he wrote Toward a Black Psychology—an article published in Ebony in 1970 that vastly changed how people viewed Black psychology. In it, he argued that “whatever the future of race relations and the destiny of Black people, the creation of a Black Psychology was necessary because psychology created by white people could never adequately apply to define African-Americans.” He also highlighted how white psychology “often led researchers to incorrectly conclude that African-Americans were lacking and less than.”
- Highly successful in his field, White received multiple accolades throughout his lifetime. Among them are the Citation of Achievement in Psychology and Community Service from President Clinton in 1994, the honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Minnesota in 2007, and Alumnus of the Year from San Francisco State University in 2008.