June 1, 2021
Welcome to DIRECTIONS the monthly online newsletter of the Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists (DVABPsi). We look forward to providing our readers
wiith pertinent information to support, encourage, and uplift our community and those who
serve the community. The goal of DVABPsi is to make a positive impact on Black Mental
Health today and for the future.
DeBorah Gilbert White, Ph.D.- Editor
Dr. Ayo Maria Gooden
Delaware Valley Association
of Black Psychologists
JUNETEENTH OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY
I never heard of Juneteenth until I was immersed in Black cultural activities during my early thirties. Knowing that Juneteenth is the longest running Black holiday in the United States and knowing about other Black holidays provides a cultural grounding necessary to protect us from the hostile environment in which we live. Juneteenth is the commemor- ation of the last group of Blacks to be informed of the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865 Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas leading the Union soldiers to announce and enforce the release of enslaved Blacks. Many people falsely believe that Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, freed all Blacks, but it did not. Lincoln only extended freedom to those Blacks in Confederate-controlled states, if they were willing to fight for the Union. Blacks, in the Union-controlled states, remained enslaved until the end of the war. When people say July 4, 1776, is “our” independence day, you now know Caucasians were free but they were keeping Blacks enslaved while they were assassinating Native People, Latinx, and Asians.
It is important that we accept the fact that we and many of the descendants of the
people who enslaved us have been lied to about who we are as Blacks. We were enslaved
for 400 years but we seldom see our resilience to not only survive, but we were inventors (Thomas Jennings inventor of dry cleaning), and the builders of the United States. Our
people experienced and survived the worst system of enslavement on the planet. The 400 years of mental, physical, and sexual abuse did not turn us into the monsters who
committed these heinous crimes against us. Our spirituality has prevented us from doing to them what they did to us. Sadly, we have far too frequently, turned on each other and have not helped each other to heal from our traumas. Juneteenth must be a celebration of our resilience. We survived against all odds and intentions. We must learn our history before we were abducted from our homes in Africa. We must learn that we had advanced civilizations in Africa over 200,000 years ago. We built the pyramids, we were the first engineers (Narmer Menes was a hydro-engineer who altered the course of the Nile), physicians, chemists, architects, mathematicians, and astronomers (Imhotep mastered these areas and built the first step pyramid). We must celebrate our greatness and share it with the world!
How can we celebrate Juneteenth? Get together with family and friends and share healthy foods. Share recipes and learn how to cook family favorites in healthy ways. Write a family cookbook or a family history that includes a family tree, recipes, family sayings, and accomplishments. Talk about the challenges in the family and how you have coped. Learn Black history from ancient times to the present (See some recommendations below). Learn your family history. Discuss ways to create an individual or family business and make it happen! Explore who you are and be courageous enough to seek professional support from the Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists.
1905 Richmond Virginia Juneteenth Celebration
Barashango, I. (1983). Afrikan people and European holidays: A mental genocide. Washington, D.C. IVth
Dynasty Publishing Company.
Chapman-Hilliard, C., Adams-Bass, V. (2016). A conceptual framework for utilizing Black history knowledge as a path to psychological liberation for Black youth. Journal of Black Psychology, Vol 42(6) 479-507.
Gooden, A. C. (2015). Check this out: A brief look at world mysteries and rarely told histories. North America International, Trafford Publishing.
Imhotep, D. (2012). The First Americans Were Africans. AuthorHouse, Bloomington, IN 47403.
Kush, I.K. (1983). What they never told you in history class. Laurelton, NY: D and J Book Distributors, Inc.
Robinson, C.R.; Battle, R.; Robinson, E.W. The journey of the Songhai People.
Rogers, J.A. (1940). Your history from the beginning of time to the present. Baltimore, MD: Black Classic Press.
Harambee! Harambee! Harambee! (Let us all pull together).
Hotep (Peace and Blessings)- Ayo Maria Gooden, Ph.D., ABPBC, LLC
Guest Contributor: Ophera A. Davis, Ph.D.
Get ready for the 2021 season:
Lessons from Hurricane Katrina Mississippi Black Women Survivors
Everything starts in Africa including most hurricanes formed in the warm Atlantic Ocean waters that eventually reach the United States. This article will: Discuss the upcoming hurricane season and it will give you practical suggestions on how to keep your family safe during hurricanes based on lessons learned from Mississippi Black women Hurricane Katrina survivors.
On June 1st every year, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issue projections for the upcoming season which continues through the summer and ends on November 30th. There are usually 21 named storms each year. But, since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the number of storms has risen exponentially. Since hurricane seasons have become overactive the NHC has made changes for 2021, several of which are notable. First, you can expect hurricane season to begin earlier in the coming years. The proposed start date is May 15th - two weeks earlier – because of the activity in the Atlantic Ocean. Last year, there were over 14 hurricanes, and that had not happened since Hurricane Katrina. Most scientists associate this increase with climate change.
Second, since last year’s overactive hurricane season totaled 30 named storms, including the 14 hurricanes, the NHC resorted to a pattern they have followed since 1953 which was to use the Greek alphabet when they run out of names. Because of the confusion the Greek alphabet
caused across the globe last year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) provided a supplemental list for Atlantic tropical storms going forward, in lieu of Greek names. This change
is culturally significant and will make it easier for the average person to recognize storm names without having to associate them with a European language that most people do not speak.
What’s more, the supplemental list of storms alternates between female and male monikers and includes gender-neutral and ethnic names (the main and supplemental lists are below).
So, now what can you do to keep your family and friends safe during hurricanes. My work, a longitudinal study on Hurricane Katrina Mississippi women survivors, provides suggestions that worked.
In 2005, the worst natural disaster in American history, Hurricane Katrina, flooded the city of
New Orleans and demolished the infrastructure on the Mississippi Coastline. I started what is
now a 15-year longitudinal study with Mississippi Black women survivors. The women’s survival stories are remarkable and the lessons they learned can help to keep you and your
loved ones safe too. Along with their words are official suggestions from the NHC and NOAA to
help you get ready before a hurricane:
>Watch the news and weather when you are in a coastal region to stay alert of the possibility of tropical storms or hurricane advisory notices
>Pack a hurricane emergency kit
Get your home prepared for the storm by stocking your home with water, non-perishable food, batteries, a flashlight, a first aid kit, warm clothes, a blanket, cutlery, paper plates. Also, get extra cash because electricity may be out and you won’t be able to use credit cards, place your valuable paperwork such as home, auto, and life insurance, wills, and prescriptions in a waterproof box. Remember to pack comfort food such as chocolate, books, and items for kids and for your pets, etc.). Get the emergency kit packed early because once a storm emerges time works against you. In the era of COVID-19 be sure to pack extra masks and gloves. Ellen said, “Over the years, my husband and I have boarded up several homes on the Coast when a storm was forecasted”.
>Create an evaluation plan and share the plan with your family (include a text tree)
Jeannette commented, “We have always evacuated when there was a threat of a Category 3
or higher hurricane in the region”.
>Know the evacuation route in your state, region, or city. You can find that information at the CDC website below.
Mary said, “I have an alternative route other than Highway 49 to leave the coast to go home [Batesville] because I am from north Mississippi”. Since Katrina, there are evaluation signs like
the image below, in every coastal city in America to guide people to safety. Don’t ignore
evaluation orders. Don’t wait, leave early.
Catherine told me as Katrina approached, “We got in the car and got to the highway 10 exit, and we were like, “where can we go?”
>Returning home safely after the hurricane is very important because many people are
injured or killed after a disaster because of the storm's damage to the region, such as down electrical wires, gas lines, glass, fallen trees, or many other hazards.
Betty said, “I remember running down the street on top of boards, refrigerators, and whatever - trying to find the house. Then my husband said to me, “ STOP! STOP!-there may be nails”.
>Never drive into flooded streets; don’t drown-just turn around.
>Don’t drink tap water until officials say that it is safe to do so. Boil the water or drink
Laura had this to say, “My neighbor had a working water well on his property and he provided water for our street to flush the toilets every evening until the utility company turned the water back on”.
To close, this piece provided you basic information about the 2021 hurricane season and the names of possible storms. In addition, it included best practices to mitigate danger to keep you and your family safe after hurricanes. Lastly, you received sage advice from Hurricane Katrina Black Mississippi Women survivors about the ways in which they successfully navigated the disaster in 2005. Provided below are a few helpful links as the 2021 Hurricane Season approaches. If you have other questions, feel free to reach out to me.
Dr. Ophera A. Davis is from the Mississippi Delta. She is a disaster expert, interdisciplinary
social scientist, and 20-year affiliate faculty member at colleges in Boston and Virginia. Her
book, Overlooked Voices: Hurricane Katrina Mississippi Black Women Survivors Resilience and Recovery, a 15-year longitudinal study will be released August 2021. Dr. Davis is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and a founding partner of Hampton Roads Champions for Social Justice. Contact Dr. Davis at Davisoa_98@yahoo.com or 617-454-4438 or https://opheraadavis.com/contact/
THE MONSTERS OF TULSA, OKLAHOMA-THE MASSACRE
OF BLACKS AND NATIVE AMERICANS
By Ayo Maria Gooden, Ph.D., ABPBC
You do not need to watch a monster movie to see fake monsters when you can see real monsters by reading history and watching the news. This is the 100th anniversary of the massacre of over 3,000 Black millionaires in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the city of Greenwood which started on May 30 and lasted until June 1, 1921. It also marks the first time a bomb was dropped on a city, Greenwood, in the United States. The GAP Band who was from Greenwood, sings about it, "You Dropped a Bomb on Me!'' Tulsa or Greenwood was known as “Black Wall Street” because Blacks utilized a simple principle to build wealth-buy Black! Over 6,000 Blacks were displaced and were unable to collect on any insurance claims to rebuild their homes and businesses because racist whites labeled the event as a “riot.” The Black millionaires owned an airport with several airplanes, banks, movies, libraries, schools, and numerous other businesses. Black men, women, children, and babies were raped, beaten to death, shot, burned alive, hung, and dragged to death by racist whites. The massacre was initiated by racist whites who envied the financial success of Blacks because they had been taught since birth, that all whites are superior to all Blacks. Seeing Blacks who were millionaires created such rage in the racist whites that they used a white female to incite the massacre.
A white female elevator operator screamed when a Black young man tripped upon entering the elevator, falling on her. Racist whites said he was trying to rape her. He was locked up and when they could not storm the jail and hang him because armed Blacks
were protecting him, they took to burning Black businesses and homes. They dropped
bombs from planes to ensure the complete decimation of the city and thousands of Blacks. Monsters massacred these Black people and not one white person was charged but Blacks were convicted and imprisoned for fighting to protect themselves, their family and community. This was not the only massacre going on at that time by racist whites. From 1910 until around 1930’s, the Osage People in Tulsa, Oklahoma had found oil on their land and became multi-millionaires overnight.
Racist whites began marrying the Osage and having children by them because they
could not buy the land from them. In what was a mystery for over two decades, the Native People were dying-men, women, children, and babies leaving their wealth to their white family member. Laws were created stating that no full-blooded Osage could control their money. They had to have a white guardian and these guardians were also murdering their wards. Herbert Hoover sent a man to investigate the murders and the investigation was the beginning of the FBI. Who would marry someone and murder their spouse? Who would have children and murder them? Monsters! Racist whites who do not view Blacks or Native Americans as people did not see the murder of the Osage or Blacks as a crime. Entire white towns participated in the massacres and not one white person was charged or imprisoned. Things have not changed much since the 1920’s. There are some good white people but how do we distinguish from the monsters who pretend to like you or love you, marry you and have children by you to gain your wealth? Look at what people do and don’t just believe what they say.
Grann, D. (2017). Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. Doubleday.
RuNett Nia Ebo
RuNett Nia Ebo, Poet of Purpose is a poet/author, editor, playwright, blogger, and events planner. She has been writing poems for more than 50 years and has self-published 9
books of poetry and 1 CD of Spoken Word. Poet Ebo has written a fiction story (All For You - AuthorHouse) and several gospel songs. She is a contributing author to 'Chicken Soup for the African American Soul' and 'Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul' and Kwee magazine (a Liberian publication). Following is her poem "Lord, Why Did You Make Me Black?" Thank you Dr. Faruq Iman for sharing her work with us.
Why did You make me Black?
Why did You make me someone
The world wants to hold back?
Black is the color of dirty clothes;
The color of grimy hands and feet.
Black is the color of darkness;
The color of tire-beaten streets.
Why did you give me thick lips,
A broad nose and kinky hair?
Why did You make me someone
Who receives the hatred stare?
Black is the color of a bruised eye
When somebody gets hurt.
Black is the color of darkness.
Black is the color of dirt.
How come my bone structure’s so thick;
my hips and cheeks are high?
How come my eyes are brown
and not the color of the daylight sky?
Why do people think I’m useless?
How come I feel so used?
Why do some people see my skin and think I should be abused?
Lord, I just don’t understand;
What is it about my skin?
Why do some people want to hate me
And not know the person within?
Black is what people are “listed”,
When others want to keep them away.
Black is the color of shadows cast.
Black is the end of the day.
Lord, You know, my own people mistreat me;
And I know this just isn’t right.
They don’t like my hair or the way I look
They say I’m too dark or too light.
Lord, Don’t You think it’s time
For You to make a change?
Why don’t You re-do creation
And make everyone the same?
Why did I make you black?
Why did I make you black?
Get off your knees and look around.
Tell Me, what do you see?
I didn’t make you in the image of darkness.
I made you in the Likeness of ME!
I made you the color of coal
From which beautiful diamonds are formed.
I made you the color of oil,
The black-gold that keeps people warm.
I made you from the rich, dark earth
That can grow the food you need.
Your color’s the same as the panther’s
Known for (HER) beauty and speed.
Your color’s the same as the Black stallion,
A majestic animal is he.
I didn’t make you in the Image of darkness
I made you in the Likeness of Me!
All the colors of a Heavenly Rainbow
Can be found throughout every nation;
And when all those colors were blended well,
YOU BECAME MY GREATEST CREATION.
Your hair is the texture of lamb’s wool
Such a humble, little creature is he.
I am the Shepherd who watches them.
I am the One who will watch over thee.
You are the color of midnight-sky,
I put the stars’ glitter in your eyes.
There’s a smile hidden behind your pain
That’s the reason your cheeks are high.
You are the color of dark clouds formed
when I send My strongest weather.
I made your lips full so when you kiss
the one you love they will remember.
Your stature is strong; your bone structure, thick
to withstand the burdens of time.
The reflection you see in the mirror…
The Image looking back at you is MINE!
To learn more about RuNett Nia Ebo's writings visit