TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s department of psychology had an unheralded but important role in desegregation at the University.
Faculty members participated in sit-ins and protest marches in the community and let minority students live with them during the more turbulent times of the Civil Rights Movement, said Dr. Sheila Black, associate professor of psychology.
The department will celebrate its influential role in desegregation Friday, Sept. 30 at its first desegregation symposium. The event will begin a 3 p.m. in room 208 of Gordon Palmer Hall on the UA campus. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments are available.
The event’s theme is “The effects of discrimination on psychological well-being,” and will feature a panel discussion that will include former faculty members who contributed to desegregation efforts. Drs. Stan Brodsky and Howard Miller, former psychology professors at UA; and Dr. Carl Clark, the first African-American graduate student in the department, will discuss different aspects of desegregation at UA.
“Our department participated in the 50-year celebration of desegregation and had a poster session by students to celebrate it,” Black said, “but we wanted to do something unique. We wanted to invite people who were participants in that movement.
“The theme is from a psychological perspective – what impact did it have on the mental health of African-Americans? What were some of the overt or covert acts of discrimination they faced? Did professors perceive students of color to be less academically capable? For African-American students, what was the psychological impact of being perceived as less academically capable than their white counterparts?
“We’re thrilled to have Dr. Brodsky and Dr. Miller, who were very instrumental in bringing black students here and often mentors and advocates for diversity for a number of students, return to be a part of this event.”
The symposium will also feature a student-led panel consisting mostly of psychology majors.
The department of psychology is part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes, Goldwater and Truman Scholarships.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.