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Clarice Dibble Walker

Professor and commissioner of social services, Clarice Dibble Walker was born on March 31, 1936 in Tuskegee, Alabama. She is the granddaughter of Robert Robinson Taylor, and the daughter of Helen Taylor Dibble, and Dr. Eugene Heriot Dibble, Jr. Walker is the youngest of five children. Her grandfather, Robert Robinson Taylor was born on June 8, 1868. He was the first African American to graduate with a degree in architecture from MIT in 1892. Taylor worked with Booker T. Washington as an architect at Tuskegee University from 1890 until 1930. He has designed several of Tuskegee’s most prominent buildings such as the science buildings, dormitories and the school's chapel. Helen Annetta Taylor was born on October 15, 1901 in Tuskegee, Alabama. She attended Fisk University and graduated with her B.A. in music. Walker’s father Dr. Eugene Heriot Dibble Jr., attended Atlanta University and Howard medical school. He was the head of John Andrew Hospital and served in World War II as Colonel.

Walker attended Chambliss Childrens School in Tuskegee, Alabama and Northfield High School in Massachusetts. She received her B.S. degree from Sarah Lawrence College in Westchester County, New York in 1957. Walker later obtained her M.A. degree from Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. In 1992, she served as Commissioner of Social Services for the Government of the District of Columbia. Walker has worked at Howard University as professor and department chair in the Graduate School of Social Work, Program Development in the Child Development Center, Department of Pediatrics, and the College of Medicine. She has served as visiting lecturer at Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research. In addition, she has worked as a psychiatric social worker at the University of Montreal General Hospital in Montreal Canada.

Walker has served as Chair of the Distribution Committee of the Survivors Fund, the Research Committee of Prevent Child Abuse America and the Board of Safe Shores. She has also served as Trustee for the Seed Public Charter School, Sarah Lawrence College and Howard University.
Walker is married to George H. Walker, and they have four children together.

Accession Number

A2012.065

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/1/2012

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Dibble

Schools

Chambliss Children's House at Tuskegee Institute

St. Joseph Catholic School

Sarah Lawrence College

Columbia University

Northfield Mount Hermon School

Tuskegee Institute High School

First Name

Clarice

Birth City, State, Country

Tuskegee

HM ID

WAL18

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Let's Move It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/31/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Social work researcher Clarice Dibble Walker (1936 - ) was known for her research on socio-cultural factors involving children and families in urban environments.

Employment

District of Columbia

Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research

Howard University

Montreal General Hospital

United Planning Organization

University of Chicago

Capital Head Start, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clarice Dibble Walker's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clarice Dibble Walker lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about her maternal grandfather, Robert Robinson Taylor

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clarice Dibble Walker recalls the notable families at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about her mother's education and profession

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about her maternal grandparents' grocery store

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about her father's education and profession

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her paternal aunts and uncles, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her paternal aunts and uncles, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clarice Dibble Walker remembers the sense of community in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clarice Dibble Walker recalls the segregation of Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her parents' travels with Robert Russa Moton, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her parents' travels with Robert Russa Moton, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about the John A. Andrew Clinical Society, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about the John A. Andrew Clinical Society, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about her parents' careers

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clarice Dibble Walker remembers Tuskegee, Alabama's notable families

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her experiences at Chambliss Children's House School in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clarice Dibble Walker recalls her early interest in music

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Clarice Dibble Walker recalls Tuskegee Institute's entertainment series

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Clarice Dibble Walker remembers her teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Clarice Dibble Walker recalls her teachers at the Tuskegee Institute High School in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her experiences at the Northfield School for Girls in Gill, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Clarice Dibble Walker recalls her chores at the Northfield School for Girls

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Clarice Dibble Walker remembers singing in the choir at Northfield School for Girls

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her experiences at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Clarice Dibble Walker recalls her experiences with segregation in the South

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about her major at Sarah Lawrence College

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Clarice Dibble Walker remembers her time at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about her field placements at Columbia University in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Clarice Dibble Walker remembers working with the City of New York Department of Welfare

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Clarice Dibble Walker recalls her first marriage and move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Clarice Dibble Walker remembers meeting her second husband, George H. Walker III

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Clarice Dibble Walker recalls protesting against Benjamin C. Willis in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about moving to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her work with Capital Head Start, Inc. in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes her role as director of Capital Head Start, Inc. in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Clarice Dibble Walker remembers the Washington, D.C. riots of 1968

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about her professorship at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Clarice Dibble Walker remembers her students at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Clarice Dibble Walker reflects upon her experiences at Howard University and Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about the National Black Child Development Institute

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Clarice Dibble Walker recalls her work with the SEED School of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Clarice Dibble Walker reflects upon her career at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Clarice Dibble Walker recalls becoming the commissioner of the Commission on Social Services

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about September 11, 2001

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Clarice Dibble Walker reflects upon her father's legacy at the John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Clarice Dibble Walker talks about her children

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Clarice Dibble Walker reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Clarice Dibble Walker reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Clarice Dibble Walker describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Clarice Dibble Walker talks about her field placements at Columbia University in New York City
Clarice Dibble Walker recalls becoming the commissioner of the Commission on Social Services
Transcript
So, you graduated in--from Sarah Lawrence [Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York] in, what's it--$$Nineteen fifty-seven [1957].$$Fifty-seven [1957], okay.$$Um-hm.$$And so you went--did you go immediately to graduate school afterwards?$$Yes.$$Okay. All right.$$I went to Columbia [Columbia University].$$Okay. So, this is where you go to Columbia in New York City [New York, New York] and so what was your major?$$I went into psychiatric social work.$$Okay.$$And I did a field placement first year in public welfare in New York City, which was very different. I learned to go all over the Bronx [New York] and everywhere. And my field placement was the first year in the department of welfare [City of New York Department of Welfare; City of New York Department of Social Services], so that meant I was in the home visiting and working with people who were on welfare. And then my second year, I was at the Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital [Columbia Presbyterian Hospital; New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York] in the Department of Psychiatry.$$Now, were these--I mean, was it hard to adjust to New York City and, and the, the--you know, the, the real deep urban problems of New York City all at once? 'Cause you, you grew up in Tuskegee [Alabama] in a family like atmosphere, you go to New England to bucolic colleges (laughter), and then you go--you--all, all of the sudden you're in--$$In New York City.$$Yeah.$$Yeah, it was, although I had--you know, I knew a little bit about New York City because we'd go from Bronxville [New York] into New York on the train and we'd go back and forth a lot 'cause it was a short trip. But it, it was very much--it was different for me when I went to Columbia and had my field placement in public housing. And by public housing, I was really trying to work with people who didn't have jobs and, of course, being in New York making home visits is very different in the sense that you may be going to twelve, fifteen story walkup buildings. So, it was difficult but I enjoyed it. And--I shouldn't say I enjoyed it, but I, I learned a lot about the people. I became friends with some of them. And when I say friends, I don't mean I was--I was friends in the sense of they viewed me as being a person that wanted to help. Sometimes they didn't want my help because it meant they'd have to go back to work and that sometimes was problematic. But, I learned a lot. It was a totally new experience as you point out, you know, being in this big city after I'd been in small towns and so forth. But, I, I enjoyed my work very much and I learned a lot.$$Okay. So, did you have--were there any particular instructors or people you met along the way in the, the department of welfare that guided you?$$Yes and I'm--well, I had that first year in, in public welfare and then the second year--right now, I can't think of the names of my two people who were supervising me, but in the second year, I was in the Department of Psychiatry at--they've changed the name of the hospital, but it's the big Columbia University hospital. And I learned a lot and I enjoyed being in an interdisciplinary area because we worked a lot with different disciplines in the hospital.$$Okay.$$And, of course, I was familiar with hospitals since I'd (laughter) grown up in one practically [John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital, Tuskegee, Alabama], but this was a much, much bigger place.$Well, go, go ahead and tell us about that, the, the 9/11 [September 11, 2001] victims of (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, I was just gonna say that volunteer life has been a very big part of my life, and I have worked on numerous boards here in the city and I will tell you that another experience that we haven't talked about is the fact that, before I get to 9/11, is that I went on loan from Howard University [Washington, D.C.] to be the commissioner of social services in the District of Columbia [Washington, D.C.].$$Okay. And what, what year is this? Do you remember?$$I'll think about it. I'll tell you in a minute. I was at Howard and there was a lawsuit brought against the District of Columbia called LaShawn v. the District of Columbia [sic.], and it was filed by the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union], and the lawsuit, the plaintiffs asked me to serve as an expert witness in their case in the courts of the district, which I did, and I testified against the District of Columbia, and the lawsuit was won. Subsequently, the mayor of the district called me and said since I had been so vehement about the problems of the system, would I accept a job of commissioner of social services?$$Now, who was the mayor at that--$$Sharon Pratt Kelly [HistoryMaker Sharon Pratt].$$Okay.$$And I did that. And I went to, to this--to the child welfare division even though I had responsibilities for other services in the commission [Commission on Social Services], and it was really worse than I imagined it would be. But, we worked on it, worked on it, and worked on it, and it's still in progress, a work in progress. But, I did do that for three years. And while I was there, I was contacted by Freddie Mac [Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation], the corporation Leland Brendsel [Leland C. Brendsel], who said that they were interested in working with us and what could they do. And we established a partnership with Freddie Mac. The agency was in total disarray. They not only contributed funding for us, but actually put staff in the commission in order to help us just find out where children were, who they were, who their parents were, and so we established a terrific partnership with Freddie Mac, the Freddie Mac Foundation. And when I left the commission, they asked me to join the board of the Freddie Mac Foundation, and I have served on that board ever since.$$Okay. So, so how long--how long have you been on the board of Freddie, Freddie Mac Foundation? Do, do you know or do you have a--$$Since I left the commission--$$Okay.$$--which must've been ten years now.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$$So that's about two- 2002, I guess or so, about the time you retired from Howard, I guess, just about, yeah. Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah.$$What--$$So--$$Oh--$$--that has continued.

Na'im Akbar

Publisher, psychologist, psychology professor, and public speaker Na'im Akbar was born on April 26, 1944, in Tallahassee, Florida. Originally given the name Luther Benjamin Weems, Jr., Akbar changed his name in 1971, after joining the Nation of Islam. Akbar attended the Florida A & M University Laboratory School from grades K-12, graduating in 1961. Akbar attended the University of Michigan for the completion of his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in psychology.

Prior to attending the University of Michigan, Akbar lived within a completely African American social environment. His freshman year of college marked the first time that he had real contact with whites. At the University of Michigan, Akbar was active with the Black Action Movement (BAM) strike that closed down classes for three weeks during the late 1960s. After receiving his Ph.D., Akbar accepted a position in the psychology department at Morehouse College in Atlanta. There, he instituted Morehouse's first Black psychology course and eventually developed probably the first Black psychology program at a Historically Black College or University. Within two years, he became chair of the department.

Akbar left Morehouse after five years to work with the Nation of Islam's headquarters in Chicago to start their Office of Human Development. After two years, Akbar joined the faculty of Norfolk State University, again instituting courses in black psychology. In 1979, Akbar accepted a faculty position at Florida State University. In 1971, Akbar became active with the Association of Black Psychologists, the largest Black mental health professional organization in the world. He has served on the association's board for numerous terms and was elected its president in 1987. The association has bestowed all of its most prestigious awards on Akbar due to his professional contributions.

Akbar continues to teach a specialized course on the psychology of the African American at Florida State University. In the late 1980s, he formed his own publishing company, Mind Productions, and private consulting company, Na'im Akbar Consultants, to bring his teaching to a wider audience.

Accession Number

A2002.048

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/22/2002

Last Name

Akbar

Maker Category
Schools

FAMU Developmental Research School

University of Michigan

Hampton University

Speakers Bureau

No

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Na'im

Birth City, State, Country

Tallahassee

HM ID

AKB01

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

The state of his health prevented him from participating.

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Accra, Ghana

Favorite Quote

This too shall pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

4/26/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Tallahassee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cauliflower, Okra

Short Description

Psychology professor and publisher Na'im Akbar (1944 - ) pioneered the African-centered approach to psychology and founded one of the first Black psychology programs in the United States at Morehouse College.

Employment

Miner, Barnhill & Galland

Norfolk State University

Florida State University

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Gold

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Na'im Akbar Interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar's parents' names

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar shares memories of his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar shares memories of his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Na'im Akbar shares memories his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Na'im Akbar shares memories of his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Na'im Akbar talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Na'im Akbar discusses his parents' first meeting

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Na'im Akbar discusses his aunt

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Na'im Akbar shares his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Na'im Akbar remembers his childhood household

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Na'im Akbar as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Na'im Akbar shares memories of Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Na'im Akbar discusses his neighborhood's mentors and role models

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar remembers his childhood paper route

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar discusses the influences of his childhood community

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar discusses the role of schools in his community

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar remembers an childhood emphasis on education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Na'im Akbar remembers his childhood teachers and coaches

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Na'm Akbar discusses additional father figures

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Na'im Akbar as a student

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Na'im Akbar discusses his elementary and high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Na'im Akbar discusses skills gained through childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Na'im Akbar discusses the 1956 Tallahassee Bus Boycott

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Na'im Akbar explains the early history of Tallahassee's black neighhorhoods, Frenchtown and Smokey Hollow

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar explains his understanding of the 1956 Tallahassee Bus Boycott as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar remembers reactions of Tallahassee's black community to demonstrations

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar reflects on his community's fear of retaliation

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar describes his fear of the white response to the demonstrations

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Na'im Akbar remembers lessons of needing to staying in one's place

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Na'im Akbar reflects on his admission to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Na'im Akbar reflects on competing with whites in an academic environment

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Na'im Akbar discusses the race relations at Michigan universites in early 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Na'im Akbar comments on the resistance to legitimize Black Studies

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar discusses his decision to major in psychology

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar remembers his research mentors at the University of Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar discusses his mentor, Dr. Howard Wolowitz

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar reflects on the 1960s and its influence on his research

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Na'im Akbar confronts his own feelings of racial inferiority

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Na'im Akbar discusses his dissertation

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Na'im Akbar joins the Association of Black Psychologists

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Na'im Akbar talks about his birth name

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Na'im Akbar remembers his first academic job search

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Na'im Akbar discusses his experiences at Morehouse College

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar's introduction to the Nation of Islam

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar joins the Nation of Islam

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar describes the reactions of the Morehouse College community to his joining the Nation of Islam

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar explains the correlation between the Nation of Islam's teaching and Black Psychology

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Na'im Akbar describes the development of African Psychology

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Na'im Akbar moves to Chicago, Illinois to work for the Nation of Islam

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Na'im Akbar discusses working with the Nation of Islam in Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar meets and marries his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar joins the faculty at Norfolk State University

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar joins the faculty at Florida State University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar's exposure in the media

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Na'im Akbar discusses academia's response to Black Psychology

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Na'im Akbar discusses the Association of Black Psychologists

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Na'im Akbar describes the need for continued growth of Black Psychology

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Na'im Akbar discusses the black community's view of Black Psychology

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Na'im Akbar describes the practical use of Black psychologists

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Na'im Akbar discusses cultural differences among blacks and whites

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Na'im Akbar discusses the Black Church and Black Psychologists

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Na'im Akbar discusses the difference between Eurocentric and Afrocentric Psychology

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Na'im Akbar's hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Na'im Akbar describes his legacy and how he wants to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar and Father on Toledo, Ohio Beach (1958)

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar (Luther Weems, Jr) as High School Senior (1961)

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar wih Dr. Art Mathis and Nigerian Psychologist at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1973)

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Rev. Herbert Alexander (1987)

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar (Luther Weems, Jr) at Eight Years Old on Easter Sunday (1952)

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar and Daughter, Shaakira, at Elmina Slave Castle in Ghana, West Africa (1995)

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Photo -- Shaakira Akbar with Maternal Grandparents in Ghana, West Africa (1995)

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Mother, Bessie; Father, Luther; and Aunt, Eunice (1965)

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Wife, Renee, and Children, Shaakira, Tareeq, and Mutaqee (circa 1987)

Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Minister Louis Farrakhan in Accra, Ghana (1995)

Tape: 7 Story: 16 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Drs. John Henrik Clarke and Asa Hilliard at the University of Louisville (circa 1998)

Tape: 7 Story: 17 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar (Luther X) (1973)

Tape: 7 Story: 18 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar at the Temple of Edfu, Upper Egypt (circa 1985)

Tape: 7 Story: 19 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Sons, Tareeq and Mutaqee, at Cape Coast Slave Castle, Ghana (1996)

Tape: 7 Story: 20 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Tony Brown and Drs. A. Hilliard, M. Asante, M. Karenga, L. James Myers, F. Cress Welsing (1995)

Tape: 7 Story: 21 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar "Instooled" as Development Chief in Abono Village, Ghana (1995)

Tape: 7 Story: 22 - Newspaper Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Dick Gregory, Tyrone Brooks and Dr. Ralph Abernathy in Selma, AL (1976)

Tape: 7 Story: 23 - Newspaper Photo -- Na'im Akbar with Khalilah Ali in Chicago, IL

Tape: 7 Story: 24 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar Speaking at the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. (10/16/1995)

Tape: 7 Story: 25 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar Pouring Libation at Inauguration of Tougaloo College President, Dr. Adib Shakir (5/13/1989)

Tape: 7 Story: 26 - Photo -- Na'im Akbar (Luther Weems, Jr.) on Senior Prom with Joan Bailey (1961)

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

6$1

DATitle
Na'im Akbar describes the development of African Psychology
Na'im Akbar discusses working with the Nation of Islam in Chicago
Transcript
Was there any written books or anything, you can pull from to see, the way you were about to go and move psychology?$$No, we were invent -- we were inventing it as we went along. I wanted to come back to mention to you again this, these people who, who became really kind of key in terms of this whole scholarly development that became, what we call African Psychology. One of those people was my, my very good friend who I met, Phil McGee, who became my kind of connection with the Stanford [University, Stanford, California] group. And Stanford was where Cedric Clark was, who I mentioned to you. And their graduate student was Wade Nobles. Now, Wade Nobles was finishing a graduate degree in psychology at Stanford University. Through my connection with Phil, the four of us became kind of the Africanist group in the Association of Black Psychologists. So each year at their conventions, you know, we would do a major kind of presentation and dealing with this whole kind of redefinition of black people as basically African people. And to begin to somehow talk about psychology within the context of us continuing an African way of life as opposed to being deviations from a European way of life. And Cedric and I were very much directly influenced by the Nation [of Islam] in our thinking. And both Phil and Wade, who never joined the Nation, were also very much influenced by those kinds of ideas. In fact, Wade's wife became an active member of Nation for a period of time. And so all of that became very much a part of the way that we began to sort of like develop this whole kind of paradigm of what became kind of Africentric psychology. Interestingly, Dr. Molefi Asante some years later did the first book on Afrocentricity and he mentioned at the very beginning of the book that like, you know, this whole kind of notion of beginning to think of black scholarship from an African context with that whole paradigm shift where we began to see the world from our center, whether it's economics, whether it's art, whether it's theater, whether it's literature, whether it's psychology, whatever it is, to think of it from our center. He sort of like, he, he referenced the black psychologists, the African psychologists as having, you know, sort of started that paradigm. And he had reference to the work that, you know, the four of us had done. We did a paper back in, in -- it was actually published in first issue of the 'Journal of Black Psychology.' It was called "Voodoo or IQ: An Introduction to African Psychology." And we really kind of laid out -- the four of us, Phil McGee, Wade Nobles, Cedric Clark and myself, laid out the perimeters of this like paradigm of beginning to think of the world, you know, from this kind of Africentric, you know, point of view, and the, the work we began to do. So Wade coming in experimental psychology, he began to get research grants to study the black family. And to study the black family, not as a deviant European family, but as an African family. So he began to look at notions like the extended family system. He began to look at things about the role of spirituality in the black family. And he began to look at how, when that family was working well, people performed better in schools, staying away from socially deviant kinds of behaviors. So he began to like empirically demonstrate that when black people acted consistent with being African, we didn't -- we (unclear), we had more successful lives. You know, I began to sort of write much more in terms of the whole kind of importance of us understanding who we were as a means of finding mental health, you know.$Tell me about your experiences in Chicago [Illinois] when you go there to become, to work directly within the Nation of Islam?$$The first year was really exciting. I mean I -- because all these people came, Sonia Sanchez was in the Nation [of Islam]. She came there. Minister [Louis] Farrakhan was moved out to Chicago, so he was working there. So I was able to begin to interact with all of the major leadership of the Nation of Islam, Muhammad Ali was, you know, very active at the Nation at that point. Khalilah Ali, who he was still married to at the time, was very active around -- so all these people who had been sort of icons, like for the black community as a whole and certainly for the Nation, became my colleagues. We were all kind of working together. What happened, however, like shortly after the first year I was in Chicago, it really became fairly clear that the real agenda that Imam Wallace Muhammad had was to really kind of transform the Nation primarily into an Orthodox religious movement. And to really kind of de -- de-culturalize its, its impact. So, the move he began was to get rid of the businesses, really the schools themselves began to -- he closed the schools down in most parts of the country and eventually kind of phased out the schools altogether. And basically to convert the Nation from being like a, kind of like a social, cultural movement to being exclusively a religious movement. And, and this was very different from what we'd expected. However, during the beginning of that year, like, you know, we began to do some of the things that I indicated in terms of writing those pamphlets and things like that. And by the end of two years, it was much that the Nation was going in another direction altogether, you know. So those of us who had moved to Chicago, one, one very brilliant man who was a lawyer out of Richmond [Virginia], his name was Sa'ad -- well his name Gerard X. Green he became Sa'ad El-Amin, who subsequently became a city councilman and major prosecutor and a judge out of Richmond when he went back. But he'd moved to Chicago, two or three accountants from PriceWaterhouse out of New York [New York] had moved to Chicago. So we brought together this kind of brain trust of people who were kind of like parts of various [Black] Muslim communities around the country, parts of the Nation who (unclear) like, the (unclear) all centered there in Chicago. But it didn't go the direction, you know, that we had anticipated. But it was be -- it, it, it introduced me to a national network of people, number one. And it began to give exposure to the ideas that I'd been working with on a national basis as well because my articles were in the national newspaper of 'Muhammad Speaks.' I did the -- I, I published the first little pamphlets, the first one being, I think, 'The Community of Self' and then which I subsequently revised. And then a couple of others that I did as well which became like these little readable pamphlets that people could use to begin to develop and understand their psychology as black people. So that was the start of the work that, you know, subsequently I, I expanded much later on. So I spent those two years there. After finding out that the Nation was really not going to go that kind of way, really going much more to a religious movement, then I went to back to work at Norfolk State [University, Norfolk, Virginia].