psychiatry, racism, segregation, Tuskegee

A Clinic for the People: Toward an Antiracist Psychiatry at the Tuskegee Institute 1947–1965

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Tue, April 30, 2024

From 1947 until 1963, a small group of psychiatrists from the Tuskegee Veterans Administration Hospital ran a small Mental Hygiene Clinic designed to provide outpatient care and education to the Black residents of Macon County, Alabama. In an analysis of the clinic and the work of its Director, Dr. Prince Barker, we see the ways that Black psychiatrists tried to develop an antiracist approach to psychiatry and to develop their own autonomy in segregated Alabama. But there were limitations to this work. Tensions between the state funding body, local politics, and the internal racism of psychiatry itself all made it difficult for Tuskegee psychiatrists to provide alternatives to care beyond the veil of the color line.