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'Godfather' of black psychology gives public lecture

March 18, 2009

KALAMAZOO--A pioneer in the field of black psychology will be in Kalamazoo Wednesday through Friday, March 2527, to present a public talk and hold a series of conversations with area students and educators.

Dr. Joseph L. White, professor emeritus of psychology and psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine, will present the public talk at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in Room 208 of Western Michigan University's Bernhard Center.

White will speak on "African American Psychological Strengths as a Vehicle for Surviving, Thriving and Optimal Living." Several of his books will be available for purchase, and there will be a performance by the Voices of WMU Gospel Choir as well as a reception in White's honor.

White wrote a seminal article in Ebony magazine in 1970 called "Toward a Black Psychology" that was instrumental in beginning the modern era of African American and ethnic psychology. In fact, he is affectionately referred to as the "Godfather" of black psychology by his students, mentees and younger colleagues.

In addition to giving the public talk, White will spend much of his three days in Kalamazoo meeting with select on- and off-campus groups.

Those meetings will include a conversation Wednesday, March 25, with WMU's African American faculty members and a discussion Thursday, March 26, on the "Browning of America: Implications for Counseling, Psychotherapy and Psychological Training" with WMU graduate students and faculty members.

Throughout the day Friday, March 27, he also will consult with Kalamazoo Public Schools administrators, conduct a small-group dialogue on "Planning for Success: Intentional Steps Toward Your Goals" with male high school students at Phoenix High School in Kalamazoo, and have an informal conversation and lunch with members of several WMU student organizations.

White has had a distinguished career in the field of psychology and mental health for the past 47 years. He spent most of that time at the University of California, Irvine, where he was a teacher, supervising psychologist, mentor, and director of ethnic studies and cross-cultural programs.

A practicing psychologist and consultant, White has served as a supervising psychologist and staff affiliate psychologist to five hospitals and three clinical practices in Southern California as well as consulted with school districts, universities, private organizations, drug prevention programs and government agencies.

He has written or co-written numerous books, research papers and articles on black psychology, and child and parenting issues. Four of his books will be featured at the March 26 public talk: "Black Man Emerging: Facing the Past and Seizing a Future in America," "Black Fathers: An Invisible Presence in America," "The Psychology of Blacks: An African-American Perspective," and "Building Multicultural Competency: Development, Training and Practice."

White's Kalamazoo visit is being sponsored by the Kalamazoo Public Schools, Kalamazoo Chapter of the NAACP and U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, along with WMU's College of Education, Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology, Division of Student Affairs, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of the President, and University Counseling and Testing Center.

For more information, contact Dr. Evelyn B. Winfield, director of WMU's University Counseling and Testing Center, at evelyn.winfield@wmich.edu or (269) 387-1850.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
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Western Michigan University
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