Celebrating Women’s History Month by Honoring Women of African Descent

We present to you Women of African descent who are living legends or who have been recognized as legendary since their transitions… women from various disciplines who have fought for the psychological health of our people in different ways, perhaps with different tools, but with the same fire and steadfastness throughout their careers! These are women who, with their words and deeds, have paved the way in mental health for our people.

Dr. Adelaide Sanford

Dr. Adelaide Sanford is a community leader and activist, educator, scholar, and public speaker who has spent decades advocating for the importance of African-centered education for students of African descent. Today, at 95 years old, she continues the work of encouraging and uplifting our community. She was born in Brooklyn NY, on November 27, 1925.

“I think community has to be considered not geographically, but spiritually and culturally. Wherever there are people of like mind and like values, here are people who are struggling for the same truth. So, that becomes my community.”

“When conferences are held, and forums and workshops, rarely does the system say “Let’s get the achievers. Let’s get the Asa Hilliards. Let’s get the Barbara Sizemores. Let’s get the people who have demonstrated ability to bring our children of African Ancestry to mastery and have them share.” They will not do that. They will still listen to people who have been connoisseurs of the system but have no record of achievement. Believe in the children. See them as beloved, as precious, as spirited, as valuable, to be protected, to be educated in the finest sense of what it means to educate, to lead out of, to find their wings and to be able to explore, and to help them to express it fully. Be careful about the casual dating of children. See all the children as ours, all of them as ours. Constantly tell our story because it’s a story of victory over insurmountable obstacles. Nobody on this globe has done what we have done, with so little and done so much.” 

Dr. Nancy Boyd-Franklin

Dr. Nancy Boyd-Franklin is a psychologist, educator, mentor and author who has worked to strengthen Black families by developing approaches to effective Black family therapy. She has authored numerous articles and books on Black family therapy, school-based, community-based, and home-based therapy, raising Black teenage sons, and therapeutic related to HIV/AIDS. She was born June 13, 1950, in Harlem, New York.

“My goal was to help change the way people viewed our families & the strengths of our people.”

“Women must mentor other women. I mentor young people across this country. It is essential that you stay connected to other black women faculty, not only in your discipline.   You have to establish a professional and personal extended family. There’s a need for a community of color on and off-campus. NYABPsi has been phenomenal. I’ve been a member since 1972. I never would have finished graduate school had it not been for NYABPsi. ABPsi raised me. NYABPsi mentored me. And my trip to Africa was life-altering. It centered me as an African American woman in a powerful way.”

Dr. Audre Lorde

Dr. Audre Lorde was a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet”. Her life and work were devoted to challenging social injustices by dismantling racism, homophobia, and sexism. Her literary works and contributions to critical race studies, and queer theory, and feminist theory, have received national and international acclaim. She was born February 18, 1934, in Harlem, New York, and transitioned November 17, 1992, in Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands.

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So, it is better to speak.”

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