We at CFS want to honor Black History Month this year by not only paying tribute to all generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity, but also by honoring some specific Trailblazers of Equality in The Area of Mental Health. Throughout this month, we will be posting tributes to some individuals who spoke to our hearts and inspired us, and whose stories we want to re-share with you.
Today’s tribute is to Joseph White, Ph.D.
Joseph L. White, one of the first known black psychologists, is known as the “Father of Black Psychology”. He was born in 1932 in Lincoln, Nebraska. He became the first African American at Michigan State to receive his Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1961 (graduating at the top of his class). From 1962 to 1968, White taught at California State Long Beach, California and was also on the faculty of San Francisco State University, California where he created the Black Studies department which provides educational access and opportunity for low-income and educationally disadvantaged students throughout California. In 1968, Dr. White worked as a coordinator on the presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy.
Dr. White helped to expose the implicit bias in the field of psychology, including in education, research, and professional training, as well as the implications for truly understanding the range of human behavior. As a clinical psychologist, professor, and researcher, he challenged the American Psychological Association (APA) by helping to found the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) in 1968. Dr. White worked closely with colleagues to build a bibliography of works on black psychology.
He was the recipient of many prestigious awards including the Citation of Achievement in Psychology and Community Service from President Clinton in 1994, Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Minnesota in 2007, and Alumnus of the Year from San Francisco State University in 2008. White died in November 2017.
Center for Family Services has been providing mental health services and education to children, adults and families since 1961. Our clients are some of the most vulnerable in the community due to their age, gender, and socioeconomic status. Donations are a crucial means to their mental well-being. On their behalf, thank you for your support.
To learn more about our programs, visit our Programs page.