Black History Month

February is Black History Month

We know there are strong associations between experiences of racism and poor physical and mental health outcomes among racialized populations. Whether due to a reluctance to seek service, a lack of culturally appropriate services, a lack of training in anti-racist approaches to care, and/or an insufficient number of Black health professionals, frequently, racialized individuals have difficulty receiving timely and/or effective mental health supports. Whether within our schools or our health settings, we need to do better. This year, to mark Black History Month, we will highlight organizations and groups that seek to address stigma, provide culturally appropriate mental health services, and are conducting research that includes and welcomes Black communities in mental health spaces.

 

Profiles


Black History Month: An Alberta psychologist’s tribute to Nelson Mandela


An Alberta psychologist’s tribute to Nelson Mandela
Alberta psychologist Zuraida Dada grew up in Apartheid South Africa, and was a part of the fight against oppression that finally succeeded with the formation of a democratic government in 1994. In this article, she pays tribute to the leader and face of the anti-Apartheid movement, the late icon Nelson Mandela. This article was first published in the College of Alberta Psychologists CAP Monitor Spring 2023 edition, and was re-published in the CPA’s counselling section’s Kaleidoscope newsletter in December 2023.


Black History Month: V-TRaC Lab

V-TRaC Lab logo

V-TRaC Lab
The Vulnerability, Trauma, Resilience and Culture Research Laboratory (V-TRaC) is based at the University of Ottawa. It studies the connection between vulnerability and trauma and the coping strategies that might be employed to deal with either – or both. Their research is wide-ranging and covers many topics, from child welfare in Ontario to psychosocial interventions related to Ebola Virus Disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Black History Month: Canada Confesses

Canada Confesses logo

Canada Confesses
Canada Confesses started in 2020 as a youth-led platform for Canadians to anonymously share their experiences with racial and social injustice. Since that time, it has expanded a great deal, with more than 40 volunteers working together across Canada, and has become a resource to connect people across the country interested in making changes to the structures and systems that have led to inequality and marginalization.


Black History Month: Black Mental Health Canada

Black Mental Health Canada logo

Black Mental Health Canada
This week’s Black History Month spotlight is on Black Mental Health Canada. They are an organization that educates Canada’s Black community about mental health, and advocates for culturally-affirming care through training and workshops.



 

Black History Month 2023 Profiles

Black History Month: Herman George Canady

Herman George Canady photo

Dr. Herman George Canady
Herman George Canady has had a lasting influence on psychology, influencing theories like intergroup anxiety and stereotype threat. He was also one of the very early leaders in organizing a group of Black psychologists.


Black History Month: Robert Lee Williams II

Robert Lee Williams II photo

Dr. Robert Lee Williams II
Famous for three important books, and for coining the word ‘Ebonics’, Dr. Robert Lee Williams II spent his long and influential career combatting the racist stereotype that Black people were less intelligent than White people.


Black History Month: Ruth Winifred Howard

Ruth Winifred Howard photo

Dr. Ruth Winifred Howard
One of the first Black women to earn a Ph.D. in psychology, Ruth Winifred Howard trained Black nurses and worked with children and youth during her long and exemplary career.


Black History Month: Francis Cecil Sumner

Francis Cecil Sumner photo

Dr. Francis Cecil Sumner
The first Black person to earn a Ph.D. in psychology, Francis Cecil Sumner spent his career working to elevate African-American education through more funding and more teaching of Black history.


Black History Month 2022 Profiles

Black History Month: Dr. Cranla Warren

Dr. Cranla Warren photo
Photo: Enje Daniels Photography

Dr. Cranla Warren
Dr. Cranla Warren is the Vice-President of Leadership Development at the Institute for Health and Human Potential. Her professional work focuses on organizational systems, leadership development, and emotional intelligence, and her volunteer work focuses on mentorship for professional women and Black girls.


Black History Month: Dr. Donna Ferguson

Dr. Donna Ferguson photoDr. Donna Ferguson
February is Black History Month, and the CPA is spotlighting contemporary Black psychologists throughout the month. Dr. Donna Ferguson is a clinical psychologist in CAMH’s Work Stress and Health Program and also runs a private practice where, among other things, she does refugee and humanitarian assessments.

Black History Month: Dr. Kofi-Len Belfon

Dr. Kofi-Len Belfon photoDr. Kofi-Len Belfon
February is Black History Month, and the CPA is spotlighting contemporary Black psychologists throughout the month. Dr. Kofi-Len Belfon is a clinical psychologist who works with children, adolescents and families. He wears many hats, one of them being as the Associate Clinical Director at Kinark Child and Family Services.


Black History Month: Dr. Monnica Williams

Dr. Monnica Williams photoDr. Monnica Williams
February is Black History Month, and the CPA is spotlighting contemporary Black psychologists throughout the month. Dr. Monnica Williams is a researcher at the University of Ottawa, dedicated to making research more inclusive for people of colour. In particular, at the moment, research into psychedelic medicine.

Black History Month: Dr. Jude Mary Cénat

Dr. Jude Mary Cénat photoDr. Jude Mary Cénat
February is Black History Month, and the CPA is spotlighting contemporary Black psychologists throughout the month. Dr. Jude Mary Cénat is the director of the Vulnerability, Trauma, Resilience and Culture Research Laboratory (V-TRaC Lab), and the director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Black Health.

Black History Month: Dr. Eleanor Gittens

Eleanor Gittens photoDr. Eleanor Gittens
Dr. Eleanor Gittens is a professor at Georgian College in the Police Studies degree program. She helps students confront their biases before they graduate and go on to become police officers – by taking them to Barbados!

Black History Month: Dr. Helen Ofosu

Helen Ofosu photoDr. Helen Ofosu
Dr. Helen Ofosu helps businesses move toward equity, diversity and inclusion as an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She says that employees of colour who are staying at home during the pandemic are realizing that their workplace may not have been a very welcoming one when they were there in person.

Black History Month 2021 Profiles

Black History Month: Charles Henry Turner

Charles Henry Turner photo from biography.comCharles Henry Turner
Charles Henry Turner was a zoologist, one of the first 3 Black men to earn a PhD from Chicago University. Despite being denied access to laboratories, research libraries, and more, his extensive research was part of a movement that became the field of comparative psychology.

Dr. Turner was a civil rights advocate in St. Louis, publishing papers on the subject beginning in 1897. He suggested education as the best means of combatting racism, and believed in what would now be called a ‘comparative psychology’ approach.


Black History Month: Keturah Whitehurst

Keturah Whitehurst. Photo from Kirsten's Psychology BlogKeturah Whitehurst
A mentor to countless black psychologists, Keturah Whitehurst’s contributions to psychology extend beyond her own work to the work of her protégés that continues today.

Black History Month: Dr. Olivia Hooker

Dr. Olivia Hooker with President ObamaDr. Olivia Hooker
As a psychologist, Dr. Olivia Hooker worked to change the unfair treatment inflicted upon inmates at a New York State women’s correctional facility. In 1963 she went to work at Fordham University as an APA Honours Psychology professor, and was an early director at the Kennedy Child Study Center in New York City.

Black History Month: Inez Beverly Prosser

Inez Beverly Prosser
Inez Beverly Prosser was a Texas native who taught in segregated schools in the early 1900s. She travelled to the University of Cincinnati to obtain her doctorate in 1933, making her the first Black woman with a PhD in psychology.


Black History Month: Kenneth & Mamie Phipps Clark

Kenneth & Mamie Phipps Clark
February is Black History Month and to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions that Black Psychologists have made to the discipline and the world, the CPA will be highlighting historically significant Black Psychologists throughout the month (#BlackHistoryMonth).

Kenneth & Mamie Phipps Clark were psychologists famous for their ‘doll experiment’. Their findings, that even black children showed preference for white dolls from as early as three years old, played a role in outlawing segregation.