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The Metro Detroit Association of Black Psychologists has over a 50-year history of being the premier organization for Black Psychologists in the state of Michigan. Founded in 1968, ABPsi operates as a charitable and educational organization devoted to promoting and advancing the profession of Black Psychology. We aim to influence social change by developing programming where psychologists of African descent can contribute to the well-being and mental health of the larger Black community.

ABPsi Detroit is a collective of Black mental health professionals who use our experience and expertise to benefit the Black community in Metro Detroit and throughout the state of Michigan. We share our wealth of resources and information to help community members find a Black provider and learn about Black mental health, as well as serve as a safe space for current and aspiring Black mental health professionals to connect and collaborate. We have monthly networking and consultation meetings and support the community through research, continuing education, symposiums, and professional partnerships. Presently, ABPsi Detroit welcomes students of all education levels, early career and senior psychologists, as well as other mental health professionals.

 

The Association is organized to operate exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, including but not limited to:

  • Promoting and advancing the profession of Black Psychology 

  • Influencing and affecting social change; and

  • Developing programs whereby psychologists of African descent (hereafter known as Black Psychologists) can assist in solving problems of Black communities and other ethnic groups. 

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Origins of The Association of Black Psychologists National Chapter

Racial discrimination and violence towards Black Americans came to a head with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  in April 1968.  At the time, the field of psychology lacked racial and gender diversity, and the majority of psychological research pathologized and further marginalized Black people. At the August 1968 American Psychological Association (APA) annual convention in San Francisco a group of Black psychologists and Black psychology graduate students, interrupted the presidential address to demand that APA address racism and discrimination within psychology. The group presented a ten-point plan and demanded that APA take definitive action. From this protest grew the National Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi), whose goal was and continues to be improving the state of Black mental health. This protest and the formation of the National ABPsi successfully created the independent field of Black Psychology.

In 2021 the American Psychological Association issued a formal apology, " Apology to People of Color for APA’s Role in Promoting, Perpetuating, and Failing to Challenge Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Human Hierarchy in U.S." you can read more here:  https://www.apa.org/about/policy/racism-apology

 
Origins of the Metro Detroit Association of Black Psychologists
 

The Metro Detroit Association of Black Psychologists also has a rich history, that corresponds with events that lead to the development of the national organization. Our chapter began with local Black psychologists who met informally to provide collegial support and to discuss current events related to Black mental health. During the week of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the group decided it was time to do something about the ongoing racial injustice. As a result, the Michigan Association of Black Psychologists was formed in April 1968. Founding members included Floyd Wiley, PhD, Reginald Wilson, PhD, Jane A. Robinson, PhD, Shirley Vaughn, MS, and Dozier Thornton, PhD. The group aimed to facilitate social change through Black perspectives and activism in psychology.

The Michigan Association of Black Psychologists flourished for many, many years. However, the group eventually became inactive. Fortunately, the Michigan Chapter was revived in 1996, with Dr. Annita Sanni as the newly established president. Shelia Williams-White, Ph.D. served as president in 1997, and under her leadership, the organization was renamed The Metro Detroit Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists. In 1998 Dr. Angela Celeste May became president leading an adopt-a-school project, the continuation of the annual Kwanzaa celebrations, and hosted the first annual Juneteenth celebration (the first of many) in June 1999 which inspired the Chicago ABPsi chapter to host their first Juneteenth the following year. Dr. May was reelected in 1999 and to keep the organization going she continued serving until 2002. The group had a second revival in 2009, which was spearheaded by Dr. Amorie Robinson.

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