• Restoring Optimal Black Mental Health and Reversing Intergenerational Trauma in an Era of Black Lives Matter

Recent evidence-based research has suggested the impact of intergenerational trauma on both a biological and psychological level. This offers a potential explanatory mechanism for health inequities such as hypertension, obesity, depression, and heart disease in Black communities as a result of colonialism, American slavery, Jim Crow laws and segregation, and the prison-industrialcomplex and its contextual environment of over-policing Black communities. Thus, any intervention combating intergenerational trauma may also contribute to improving the physical health of Black communities. The Community Healing Network and the Association of Black Psychologists have partnered to develop Emotional Emancipation Circles (EEC), a social movement to combat the intergenerational trauma of colonialism and its effects on Black people throughout the world. Based upon Freire's conscientization and radicalized awareness approach, EECs offer a holistic approach towards healing, centering on the personal narratives of marginalized populations and defying the lie of Black inferiority. This essay reflects on the implementation of an EEC with Black university student leaders actively engaged in social justice issues on an urban, predominantly white college campus in the Baltimore, Maryland area.

Grandma was born moments before her mother took her last breath. The year was 1934. Her mother, my paternal great-grandmother, made a life-long promise with her husband's sister to take care of one another's children if one of them died. This was a time when maternal mortality was very common. My great grandmother knew this threat was very real. This was also a time in the American South when there weren't many public resources, such as orphanages, available for Black Americans to care for children. Too often, American Blacks experienced "separate but equal" public resources that were too often separate yet unequal. In a Southern city like the one in which my grandmother was born, there were even more limited resources for Black people. Thus, many Black families informally adopted children, often children to whom they weren't even related. I have several family members who I have learned are not biological family. Still, they are my family. My grandmother was born thirteen years after the Promotion of the Welfare and Hygiene of Maternity and Infancy Act, also known as the Sheppard-Towner Act, which provided maternity and child-care funding. Arguably, this act of legislation also served as a catalyst toward marginalizing the role of Southern Black midwives and elevating the role of medical doctors in obstetrics and gynecology. Prior to this act, Black midwives were the first stop for childbirth, as the reputation of medical doctors for childbirth was generally low. While the act did attempt to improve the conditions and care for mothers, it also subjected midwives to regulations that were often inextricably tied to literacy and medical training, which Southern Black midwives often didn't have. By requiring Southern Black midwives, who caught babies for nearly three hundred years in what became the United States, to conform to such new regulations [End Page 895] without consideration of the integral roles they played within Black communities as healers, doctors, nurses, and midwives, this act contributed to the decrease of Black midwives and increase of medical doctors. In fact, Black midwives also helped to catch the babies of white families and were able to travel across plantations, even during slavery. Presumably, eliminating their role in the Black community had a direct impact on the health of Black communities. Dying while giving birth was an all-too-common occurrence in 1932, especially for Black women. Eerily, maternity death rates for Black women are similar today.


My great-grandfather was emotionally distraught, losing the love of his life and consequently unable to care for his four young children. His sister, keeping the promise she made to my great-grandmother, sent her eldest daughter across town, walking on a cold winter day in February to collect my two great-uncles, my great-aunt, and the newborn, my grandmother. My cousin, a teenager herself, walked back with four children who were all under the age of ten. Upon arrival, they were greeted by their extended family and welcomed into their new home, already filled with seven children, a mother, a father, an uncle, and a grandmother. If it were not for the generosity, commitment to family, and the promise between women, my grandmother would not have lived past her first day of life.

My aunt recalls this family history nearly every time I see her. I have no doubt she is ensuring that I hold onto this legacy of resilience for generations to come. Every time I hear this story, I gain new details, pieces of my history that I both treasure and honor. It is this story and the acknowledgment that I would not be here if it were not for this demonstration of familial love amid structural and physical environments aimed at disregarding families that look like mine—Black people—that motivates me to do this work of addressing what LeConté J. Dill and I have described as "the legacy of trauma within, among, and throughout generations of Black women, uniquely influenced by the construction of gender and race in the United States and consequential intersectional experiences and associated lifestyle comorbidities, all a direct result of colonialism," a term I call "intergenerational gendered racialized trauma" (225). The way in which Black bodies live in the US is the direct result of colonialism's construction of policies and practices that create structural determinants of health, and by consequence, health inequities. Uncovering intergenerational trauma requires digging toward the root of trauma and addressing this root through personal narrative, collective practice, and healing strategies. This action is essential to movement-building, social justice, and any ethic of care. [End Page 896]

The story of my grandmother's birth represents my heritage, life's work, and inspiration to uncover intergenerational trauma. Naturopathic medicine believes that if you heal the emotion, you will heal the disease. Chinese traditional medicine also acknowledges the role of emotions in blocking energy channels and the manifestation of disease. These perspectives on health and wellness are consistent with traditional African and African American healing approaches (see Lee). I became fascinated with the mechanisms involved in the creation of disease among my family members. Whether it was individuals who experienced sexual abuse, interpersonal violence, mis- or undiagnosed mental health conditions, diabetes, or various cancers, central to all of them, according to naturopathic medicine, Chinese traditional medicine, and African and African American healing practices, is the neglect of the root of the disease, an emotion and/or blocked energy. My ongoing captivation with this work has led me to an exploration of unresolved trauma. This exploration is not a popular notion in public health or medicine. However, the dire state of health for Black Americans requires holistic approaches to healing.

There are several schools of thought about the ways in which optimal mental health can be achieved, and many social activists have appealed to the effects of grassroots movement work on their personal health, yet rarely is mental health discussed within the context of an ongoing social movement such as the Movement for Black Lives. Prioritizing the healing of individual and collective Black bodies, minds, and spirits is a subversive notion. To be Black, Brown, healthy, and whole in the United States can be viewed as a threat to a system that benefits from unhealthy populations. For example, prior to the Affordable Care Act, doctors accepting Medicaid could maximize reimbursements for care, blurring the lines between ethics and medical recommendations to patients. I've witnessed this firsthand as a researcher working on a project within a private medical practice, when a physician explained his rationale in recommending stage-three chronic kidney patients to dialysis instead of stage four or five, as recommended by the American Society of Nephrology guidelines. While experts are mixed on the risks of starting dialysis earlier on versus later, it's worth noting the number of dialysis centers in urban and communities of color and how much money the medical industry makes off these centers via their high return on reimbursement costs. Thus the risks to starting dialysis earlier becomes profitable and at the expense of Black communities. This is just one example of how the medical industrial complex benefits from unhealthy Black people. Thus, to be healthy and Black is a threat to a medical industrial complex.

Black people have been asked to be nonviolent when faced with daily threats of violence often disguised as "living while Black in America." When [End Page 897] Black people respond to violence with violence, their character and state of mind are attacked along with their physical bodies. Living while Black in America, in the culture created by white supremacy, almost guarantees that Black people will experience structural discrimination. From an intersectional standpoint, Black women experience multiple forms of discrimination, further marginalizing their lived experiences. This is a particularly salient point for social movements such as the Movement for Black Lives, as Black women represent the majority from its inception and implementation but too often are neglected in the national discourse when Black lives are considered. In the national discourse, #BlackLivesMatter equals Black men. Black women are thought of as an addendum, necessitating the push for #SayHerName to highlight the police violence toward Black girls and women. As a child, I was introduced to this complex social phenomenon of structural determinants of health, which was often juxtaposed to personal accounts of my family members' health encounters within the medical industrial complex, as well as their too often complicated health status. This ethnographic journey has now become my infatuation: the health and well-being of Black people and their connections to family narratives of racialized and gendered experiences.

With this purpose and perspective, I walked into the Ujima Black Solidarity Retreat, which was taking place in a conference room on a beautiful college campus brimming with the wide smiles, open hearts, and sincere intentions of fifty-five Black college students, all in leadership positions within their Black organizations at a predominantly white institution in the state of Maryland in 2016. Collectively, they recognized the need to be strong, prepared, and healthy as they embarked upon their new leadership positions for the upcoming academic term. All the students volunteered to spend part of their summer break in a retreat for the sole purpose of leadership within their respective organizations. I soon realized their commitment to wellness, wholeness, and social justice was not so different from mine.

It was a little over a year after Freddie Gray was killed in Baltimore. Student protests were rampant. People were organizing, and for many, layers upon layers of trauma were emerging. It became apparent that students needed the tools and the space in which to unpack the emergent trauma. And, with the unique history of Baltimore, the hometown for many of the students and the backdrop for this student leadership retreat, there were also very complicated relationships with housing, police, health care, and local government.

The contextual nature of this phenomenon in the state of Maryland is particular, mostly because of its distinctive history with policies and economics in relation to race. Maryland's diversified and less labor-intensive planting economy differed from other slaveholding states. Fewer slaves were needed, [End Page 898] and the roles of slaves and indentured servants were different based on this economy in Maryland, which was a slave-holding state with both free and enslaved individuals living in the city of Baltimore. In combination with Baltimore's geographic position as a port city, this social phenomenon helped to create the unique economy and urban environment of Baltimore. Maryland also had an uncommon position as having the largest free Black population among any other state in the antebellum period. The free Black population in Baltimore engaged in homeownership, and cultivated institutions such as churches, community organizations, Black-owned businesses, and schools. However, continued and subsequent policies created by whites developed a systematic ideology to limit and marginalize the collective power of this group of people, which has set the precedent for other racialized populations today. From racial segregation unequally allocating resources to redlining practices blocking homeownership to current gerrymandering practices limiting voter participation and representation, Baltimore's history of structural barriers based on race continues to fence in marginalized groups, especially those with intersecting identities. These barriers have resulted in disparities in health, income, and education, as well as food deserts, police brutality, unemployment, robberies, human trafficking, and the drug trade. The underlying and intergenerational trauma associated with these problems is rarely discussed but is central to addressing mental health and well-being. This acknowledgment, background, and political context frames the social and physical environments for the majority of my students, and I have seen its impact on some of the students' performance in school and career choices. In recent years, my students have increasingly used their voices to advocate for racial and social justice around these issues and racially biased incidents on campus that have garnered national attention (see Dickey). By using their agency to advocate for their rights, families, and communities, students were able to harness their personal narratives in very public spaces, such as Baltimore City Hall, organized public protests, digital platforms, and even in their classrooms. This self-representation is often an integral component in programs and interventions seeking to improve health behaviors in marginalized communities. Culturally congruent interventions "that affirm the heritage, rights, and responsibilities of African Americans and using interaction styles, symbols, and values shared by members of that group" (Longshore et al. 320) are effective in addressing health behaviors and practices. The students who chose to participate in this leadership retreat not only sought these skills and desired wellness but also were primed by their agency, self-representation, and personal narratives.

As I walked into that room on land once inhabited by the Susquehannock people, I paid reverence to those herstories and histories, but especially to [End Page 899] my familial herstories, to the women who literally gave their lives so their future generations could have life. I carried with me these experiences and the knowledge that ancestral, spiritual, and collective ways of coping with trauma and stress were required for this work. I called upon them to allow me to be a vessel for their ways of knowing. I was ready. Or so I thought.

Whenever I am in a space of healing, I get nervous. I experience moments of impostor syndrome, and I have to convince myself that I am capable of even doing this work, despite my professional experience, years of academic training, and certifications. This notion, I have discovered, is prevalent among many people of color, regardless of their countless qualifications, committed to healing communities that look like us, Black and Brown. In that moment, I wanted to be more than what they needed, to support their process of uncovering trauma and unpacking experiences that have contributed to their trauma. While I know I am qualified and capable, uncovering trauma among my people is a precious process. It requires gentleness, authenticity, openness, and a level of self-reflexivity that is sometimes too heavy to hold in my spirit. It also means I have had to learn how to take better care of myself. Healing praxis is the critical matter of Black lives.

movement for black lives and healing

The Community Healing Network's (CHN) Emotional Emancipation CirclesSM (EECs) were my tools to aid in the healing circle that hot summer day during a student leadership retreat. EECs were developed by members of the Association of Black Psychologists and manifested through the vision of CHN as part of this student-organized leadership retreat. The students recognized what they were missing from their leadership and learning experiences and asked me to facilitate a circle. This activity was part of a retreat for Black students to create more solidarity on campus, an inaugural initiative focused on collective work and responsibility. Several student leaders expressed interest in sharing the information learned at the EEC with their respective organizations. The EECs are not only evidence-based (see Grills et al.) but also culturally congruent in their strengths-based approach toward healing trauma. This approach does not represent neoliberal frameworks of a thriving individual. Instead, it harmonizes and coordinates the well-being of people of African descent who are living with the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and white supremacy in the US. With learning modules, called keys, dedicated to African culture, history and movements, and imperatives and ethics, this social support group offered my students an opportunity to unpack personal stories and to begin to address the root issues of healing Black communities. [End Page 900] For example, students shared their struggles with colorism, the social rules of dating, navigating social media, thriving in the classroom, and managing challenges at home while in college. I quickly learned that much of the material developed by CHN needed to be adapted to this unique audience to have a large impact on the uptake of the program with community members. EECs represent spaces in which Black people "work together to overcome, heal from, and overturn the lies of white superiority and Black inferiority: the root causes of the devaluing of Black lives" (Community Healing Network). EECs, or similar social support circles, are necessary spaces for Black liberation, mental health, and well-being.

The EEC process is committed to the liberation of young Black minds by addressing their humanity, healing intergenerational trauma, and defying the lie of Black inferiority. On our campus, in the aftermath of Freddie Gray's death while in police custody, the political activism of students occupying the president's office and demanding institutional change and divestment on campus received nationwide attention. These students showed up and made space for their healing at this student-run and -organized leadership retreat that was deeply committed to their individual and collective healing.

Recent research suggests the need for more understanding of the physical health effects of historical, cultural, and intergenerational trauma among US Black women (Grills et al.). Trauma rooted in racist, sexist, and classist policies and perpetuated by systems of power on a daily basis is simply not healthy. Living while Black in the US is a major social determinant of health (see Gee and Ford). This correlation requires people of African descent to engage in daily self-care to counter the ongoing terror of systematic oppression, especially given the current political context. Too often people believe self-care must be expensive and involve spas, yoga, and massages. While those are great healing approaches to address self-care, simply engaging in meditation, breathing exercises, and physical activity such as walking, dancing, running, and gardening are also ways in which to practice self-care. Healing approaches such as EECSM are not simply liberatory spaces but become opportunities to address the root issues of unresolved emotions, which, according to naturopathy and Chinese medicine, may be associated with conditions or diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. For some, healing emotions may also heal the physical manifestation of diseases, often disproportionately represented among Black Americans. Failure to addresss these unresolved emotions has negative consequences. I have no doubt that the stress of living while a Black woman, specifically a Black woman and the daughter of a Black man killed by the police, contributed to Erica Garner's heart attack and death at the age of 27. There are so many more examples of those engaged in this [End Page 901] critical struggle who experience ongoing trauma on top of living while Black. While EECs represent one approach to addressing trauma, similar approaches, such as sister circles and brother circles, also maximize social support, self-determination, and agency, especially among Black Americans. Healing trauma allows the body to reset itself and begin to heal itself naturally. Emancipatory practices that heal individuals in relational and collective ways (see Barlow) are critical to this work of reversing intergenerational trauma.

intergenerational trauma

Trauma is an emotional response to a phenomenon or event. Shock and denial are typical effects. Over time, trauma may manifest as symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and changes in moods and behaviors, in addition to changes in activity that may be unpredictable. Individual trauma, such as an accident, is distinct from cultural trauma, in which group consciousness is key to an individual's future identity, which is also referred to as collective trauma. Historical trauma refers to a group's public narrative linking the present to past trauma around health issues (see Mohatt et al.). This notion of trauma is central to the development and implementation of EECs. At my prompting, students share personal narratives, often rooted in historical incidents, events, and phenomena. Further, students have engaged digital and social media platforms to share their narratives. In this sharing, students not only find healing but also give permission for the networks to explore the roots of their trauma. While these additional steps are not completely explicit in the EECs, this additional work is another way to engage collective change. It then becomes important for concrete discussion on next steps for community and social engagement to occur. In fact, facilitating students' development of a plan for how they can self-organize in their respective organizations around principles and practices of the EECs is essential to promoting sustainability.

Similar to historical trauma, transgenerational trauma may refer to past trauma, but, as the name suggests, this kind of trauma occurs across generations and is also known as multigenerational or intergenerational trauma. This kind of trauma also has potential biological effects. Further, for Black people, various conceptualizations of mental health (see Parham et al.; Myers) and well-being apply to their racialized experiences living in the US. For example, Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder describes African Americans' mental health status as a state that includes the residual impacts of slavery (DeGruy). Most recently, Black Women's Post-Slavery Silence Syndrome engages in the "contentious discourse" of how collective traumatic events resulted in a [End Page 902] culture of silence for Black women, in which Black women experience trauma yet remain silent about their experiences with sexual abuse, assault, and rape (Broussard 375). While these conceptualizations may warrant further exploration, they also offer a context in which Black people, especially Black women, can address trauma based on their experiences in a culture of white supremacy or living while Black. Generally, for Black women, gendered trauma is not likely to be as foregrounded as racialized trauma, further contributing to this intersectional traumatic experience. In addition, Blackness becomes conflated with trauma, where the Black experience in the US is stereotypically viewed as pathological and socially accepted as a monolithic, normalized Black experience. This notion is distinct from trauma experienced due to living in the US. Back at the student leadership retreat, while Black students shared their life experiences and were given tasks in small groups to discuss the origins of their traumatic experiences, the untangling of these notions was a thread undergirding the discussions. This discussion required a level of familiarity not only with their partners within the circle but also with the topic.

Self-awareness is essential in circles such as the EECs. By employing social support and maximizing the use of life storytelling along with the prompts, students begin to connect their current situations with the historical phenomena under discussion. While EECs have specific prompts, any support circle group could be developed with prompts that also probe deeper into self-analysis, engaging history, environment, policies, and the issue. EECs use personal narrative, including the regular assignments encouraging self-reflection as well as self-reflexivity, to encourage students to continue this practice beyond these circles.

Intergenerational trauma is a collection of deep and distressing experiences within and across generations and embedded in biological responses. This definition acknowledges the role of the ancestral domain while focusing on the connection of the past to the present. There may be historical, social, and political reasons for gender differences in the manifestation of intergenerational trauma. For example, via the historical trauma response (see Brave Heart), Lakota women experienced more affective responses and survivor guilt as compared to Lakota men, who experienced ongoing unresolved grief across their lifespans. Gendered racialized trauma, trauma that is the result of intersecting identities of gender and race, may manifest as adverse health outcomes among US Black women. This gendered, racialized differential has vast implications for sociobehavioral intervention design and implementation. As a result, we need to explore effective approaches to address gendered racialized trauma, through which Black women's affective responses and survivor guilt and Black men's unresolved grief are addressed within our communities, [End Page 903] despite how people are socialized by gender in our society. The adaptation of CHN's materials offers a way to distribute the tangible takeaway messages for participants. Resources such as these could be complemented by what other organizations are doing around healing, transformation, and social justice.


As students were ushered into the room by volunteer university staff and students, Curtis Mayfield's inspirational "People Get Ready" blasted from the speakers. The rhythmic and soulful sounds of harmonizing voices were meant to remind them of our collective liberation. I welcomed the spirits of our ancestors into this space to listen to what Nina Simone inspired and then Donny Hathaway called "young, gifted and Black" minds lament over the daily racism they experience (Irvine). We entered into the space, gave thanks to the ancestors, and, after introducing ourselves, began the process of de-constructing our individual and collective trauma and reimagining a future where the trauma is not only uncovered but also healed and transformed. In fact, the self-reflexive space the EECSM offered is one that began with a historical standpoint, developed innovative ways of talking about historical trauma, and moved beyond disciplinary approaches to develop models for care. Moreover, students begin to uncover the gendered ways and multiple jeopardy inherent within Black experiences. There was an overall thirst for knowledge and skills relating to Black studies, healing, transformation, and mental health and well-being. These young people wanted a manual not only for becoming effective leaders, but like the grassroots efforts of the Movement for Black Lives, they wanted to prioritize their mental health and overall well-being as they lead their individual organizations. One student reflected on her experience participating in the retreat:

Yes, the Ujima [Black Solidarity] Retreat was a wonderful experience. I had already made many connections with the Black community on campus, but this opportunity allowed me to really get to know people as individuals and those connections that I had previously made turned into true support systems for not only my organization but for myself while dealing with personal issues. I think Ujima could definitely begin to address trauma in the Black community because of the large support system that it comes with. Being able to have a safe space to talk with other people and them actually listen to you without judgment really relieved a lot of stress for me personally. There were tears, arguments, laughter, and just so much love during that retreat and that's what really made it an amazing experience.

While students were learning more about themselves and their classmates, they were also experiencing healing and uncovering trauma. Another student explained, [End Page 904]

For me the EEC was extremely useful in that it created a space where community members en masse could be open and vulnerable. It pushed us to address issues that we faced on a community level that we wouldn't normally feel comfortable discussing. It promoted openness, empathy, mindfulness, and healing.

This type of healing, if ongoing and systematic, has the potential to create community and transformation, regardless of the physical spaces they occupy, including schools, churches, barbershops, beauty shops, basketball courts, and porches.

lessons learned

These are lessons for the Movement for Black Lives. Every community should have several and regular support circles like the EECs. Additionally, each facilitator should have Black mental health professionals at the circles and mental health resources for all participants. When people begin to uncover trauma, additional and ongoing mental health services may be warranted. Despite the politics surrounding it and ongoing attempts to undermine it, the Affordable Care Act promoted mental health parity. This law provided "one of the largest expansions of mental health and substance use disorder coverage in a generation," requiring all new small-group and individual market plans to cover ten essential health benefit categories, including mental health services, at parity with medical and surgical benefits (Beronio et al.). This aspect of the law protects patients and offers people of African descent an opportunity to engage in healing practices at minimal costs. By combining EECs and mental health services, a strategy to address mental health in people of African descent becomes evident. Still, only 25 percent of Black Americans seek mental health care, despite being more likely to experience social determinants increasing their risk for developing a mental health condition (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Black Americans have experienced increasing suicide rates over the last ten years, which warrants the general need to address mental health. Black Americans are also more likely to be misdiagnosed or over-diagnosed with more severe mental health conditions, pointing to additional challenges in mental health practice and care. At the Ujima Black Solidarity Retreat, I was reminded that reversing intergenerational trauma and restoring optimal mental health and well-being on a Baltimore-area college campus requires the continual, systemic practice of showing up, armed with personal narratives.

Ongoing colonialist practices require ongoing self-care and restorative practices to counter white supremacy. Self-care means something different for everyone, yet personal life narratives are central to this effort. For some, it means breathing and mindfulness exercises, such as the Black Lives Matter [End Page 905] meditations (see Nicole), and for others it means walking outside and simply being. However, restorative practices are an imperative for anyone living in a colonized nation, especially people of African descent living throughout the diaspora and specifically in the US. Additionally, EECs are simply one pathway to address trauma. There are multiple pathways toward healing. Regardless of the pathway, defying the lie of Black inferiority is essential to uncovering and reversing intergenerational trauma.

I often think about what would have happened if those four young children, my grandmother and her siblings, were unable to stay with our extended family. The precarious nature of Black children in the US, as well as contemporary examples of Brown children being separated from their families due to recent immigration policies, remind me that our fight to address injustice is not over. In fact, our fight is ongoing until systems of oppression are dismantled. While we are fighting, we must be strong—spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, and collectively. My cousins knew this, which is why they immediately took in my grandmother and her siblings. Our futures are dependent upon our capacity to build and sustain the collective and address the historical and social implications of inequities. Southern Black midwives knew this and preserved our herstories and histories, our ways of knowing. The only way we win is when we work together to heal one another, be real with one another, and take care of one another. This is the imperative.

Jameta Nicole Barlow

Jameta Nicole Barlow, PhD, MPH, is a native of Charlottesville, Virginia, a community health psychologist, an assistant professor in the University Writing Program, and an affiliate faculty member of the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University. Barlow utilizes decolonizing methodologies to disrupt intergenerational trauma, chronic health diseases, and structural policies adversely affecting Black girls' and women's health. Certified as an Emotional Emancipation Circle Facilitator, Barlow is a 2015 AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Scholar-in-Residence Fellow and 2016 RAND Faculty Leaders Fellow in Policy Research and Analysis. Her most recent work, the Saving Our Sisters Project (www.savingoursistersproject.com), is focused on Black women's mental health and well-being.

works cited

Note: Resources of special interest are annotated.
Barlow, Jameta N. "#WhenIFellInLoveWithMyself: Disrupting the Gaze and Loving Our Black Womanist Self as an Act of Political Warfare." Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, vol. 1, no. 1, 2016, 205–17.
Barlow, Jameta Nicole, and LeConté J. Dill. "Speaking for Ourselves: Reclaiming, Redesigning, and Reimagining Research on Black Women's Health." Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, vol. 16, no. 2, 2018, pp. 219–29.
Describes an emancipatory practice of healing and how it can be utilized for communities.
Beronio, Kirsten, Rosa Po, Laura Skopec, and Sherry Glied. "Affordable Care Act Expands Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits and Federal Parity Protections for 62 Million Americans." ASPE, 20 Feb. 2013, https://aspe.hhs.gov/report/affordable-care-act-expands-mental-health-and-substance-use-disorder-benefits-and-federal-parity-protections-62-million-americans. Accessed 20 July 2018.
Brave Heart, Maria Yellow Horse. "Gender Differences in the Historical Trauma Response among the Lakota." Journal of Health & Social Policy, vol. 10, no. 4, 1999, pp. 1–21. Brave Heart has written extensively on historical trauma among Indigenous peoples.
Broussard, Patricia A. "Black Women's Post-Slavery Silence Syndrome: A Twenty-First Century Remnant of Slavery, Jim Crow, and Systemic Racism—Who Will Tell Her Stories?" The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, vol. 16, 2013, pp. 373–421.
Community Healing Network. "Emotional Emancipation Circle: Overview." Centre of Pan African Thought, 2017, https://www.panafricanthought.com/event/emotional-emancipation-circles-2-2-2/. Accessed 20 July 2018.
DeGruy, Joy. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing. 2005. Amistad, 2017.
Dickey, Jack. "The Revolution on America's Campuses." Time, 31 May 2016, http://time.com/4347099/college-campus-protests/. Accessed 20 July 2018.
Offers contextual background for the university political climate prior to the Emotional Emanicpation Circle held during the Ujima Black Solidarity Retreat.
Easley, Monique. "Ujima Black Solidarity Retreat," Student Leader, Towson University, Aug. 8, 2016.
Elemo, Olushola. "Ujima Black Solidarity Retreat," Student Leader, Towson University, Aug. 8, 2016.
Gee, Gilbert, and Chandra Ford. "Structural Racism and Health Inequities: Old Issues, New Directions." Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, vol. 8, no. 1, 2011, pp. 115–132.
Describes the role of structural racism and its effects on health outcomes among Black Americans.
Grills, Cheryl N., Enola G. Aird, and Daryl Rowe. "Breathe, Baby, Breathe: Clearing the Way for the Emotional Emancipation of Black People." Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, vol. 16, no. 3, 2016, pp. 333–43.
First peer reviewed article on the EECs, with background information on their development and utility within the Black community.
Irvine, Weldon. "To Be Young, Gifted and Black." Black Gold, Stroud Productions, 1970.
Lee, Michelle Elizabeth. Working the Roots: Over 400 Years of Traditional African American Healing. Wadastick, 2014.
A great resource on healing practices in the African American tradition, a result of hundreds of interviews.
Longshore, Douglas, Cheryl Grills, Kiku Annon, and Rhumel Grady. "Promoting Recovery from Drug Abuse: An Africentric Intervention." Journal of Black Studies, vol. 28, no. 3, 1998, pp. 319–33.
Mohatt, N. V., A. B. Thompson, N. D. Thai, and J. K. Tebes. "Historical trauma as public narrative: A conceptual review of how history impacts present-day health." Social Science & Medicine, vol. 106, 2014, 128–136.
Myers, Linda James. Understanding an Afrocentric World View: Introduction to an Optimal Psychology. Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 1993.
Offers constructions of Black mental health that are considered seminal approaches within Black psychology.
National Alliance on Mental Illness. "African American Mental Health." N.d., https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Diverse-Communities/African-American-Mental-Health. Accessed 1 July 2018.
Nicole, Candice. "Black Lives Matter Meditations." N.d., http://drcandicenicole.com/2016/07/black-lives-matter-meditation/. Accessed 1 July 2018.
Parham, Thomas A., Adisa Ajamu, and Joseph L. White. The Psychology of Blacks: An African-Centered Perspective. Prentice Hall, 1999.
Offers constructions of Black mental health that are considered seminal approaches within Black psychology.

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