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The Association of 
Black Psychologists

Our Founder

Dr. Robert L. Williams, III

Dr. Robert L. Williams, II was an original founder of the national Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi)

in 1968 and served as its president from 1969 - 1970.

He also founded the St. Louis Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists (STL ABPsi).

 

The goals of ABPsi, at its founding, included protecting against the misuse and abuse of psychological research/test methods that result in negative impact on African-Americans, to develop racially appropriate models for the mental health and well-being of African-Americans, and to increase the number of Black students and professionals in Psychology. The ABPsi utilizes Afro-centric and culturally derived philosophical concepts and traditions in the conceptualization of mental wellness for African-Americans. Among these traditions and values is to honor our Elders and Ancestors. This includes the Elders and Ancestors from within the ABPsi organization. Dr. Williams was a strong critic of the impact of racial bias in standardized testing. He also embraced African philosophical traditions as an alternative to traditional Western psychological thought. Dr. Williams not only critiques the impact of cultural and racial in standardized testing, he developed the Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity, which showed differences in performance among different groups, as attributed to cultural differences and not intellectual deficits.

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Dr. Robert L. Williams, II

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Dr. Williams was a clinical psychologist, skilled researcher and social science academic professor with a deep passion for mental health and wellness issues impacting the African American community. Originally from Arkansas, Dr. Williams attended Washington University as a graduate student in 1957. He received his doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology in 1961. His ongoing work with Washington University included co-founding Black studies at the university. This department is now known as the Department of African and African-American Studies. He was also instrumental in establishing a Master's level psychology degree program, the Minority Mental Health Program. The goal of this program was to increase the number of Black mental health professionals available to the community. Unfortunately, this program ended in 1992. As Professor Emeritus at Washington University, he continued to write books, research and conceptual articles, and served as a visiting professor at other universities. Dr. Williams, II served as Professor Emeritus of Psychological and Brain Sciences and African American Studies at Washington University until his retirement in 1992.

He coined the phrase ‘ebonics’ which highlighted unique patterns of communication among African Americans. His work shed an important light on the uniqueness of the African American experience. His scholarly work was included in the Oakland School Board decision in 1996. Additionally, he provided testimony about Ebonics to the US Senate Appropriations Committee in 1997.

As a founder of ABPsi, Dr. Williams was long-regarded as an "Elder" prior to his passing. We now honor him as our cherished Ancestor. Join us in continuing the legacy of Dr. Williams, II as the STL ABPsi chapter reconnects with the community.