In the words of James Baldwin, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Black voices, triumphs and achievements have long been suppressed, including those within the mental health field. This Black History Month, MiraCare wishes to honor the contributions made by African Americans that have helped to shape the field of psychology that we know today by featuring some of the legendary psychologists and historical figures.

Francis Cecil Sumner, Ph.D.

Psychologist, Professor, Author
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Francis Sumner is known as the “Father of Black Psychology” due to being the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Sumner’s main interest was racial bias and supporting educational justice. Sumner contributed by educating aspiring psychologists at Howard University, where he is a renowned founding father of its Psychology Department. Despite the racial injustice during the 1900s, Dr. Sumner published many articles highlighting racial bias and psychoanalysis.

Inez Beverly Prosser, Ph.D.

Psychologist, Author, Professor
Inez Beverly Prosser was the first African American woman to receive her doctorate degree in psychology. Inez was also the first psychologist to shed insight and argue that racism had a damaging psychological effect on African American children. Much of Dr. Prosser’s research and work was influential in the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954.

Mental Health for African American Communities

For many African American communities, mental health is a controversial topic. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only one in three Black adults who need mental healthcare receive it, leaving thousands vulnerable and unaided. Barriers to receiving care or difficulty accessing services are just some reasons for lack of treatment. As mental health within Black culture becomes more recognized and openly discussed, more resources are being provided within the community.

MiraCare remains dedicated to helping treat the mental health and well-being of all individuals. Join us this Black History Month and all year long in advocating for stronger overall support of those in the Black/African American community.

Written by:
Amari Boyd of MiraCare Group
Lead Behavioral Health Associate

Francis Cecil Sumner, PhD

Psychologist, Professor, Author


Inez Beverly Prosser, PhD

Psychologist, Author, Professor

Additional Resources from Mental Health America:

Black History

Black and African
Communities and
Mental Health

Black Pioneers in
Mental Health

Depression in
Black Americans