Effects of slavery persist, says author speaking at EvCC

Let the healing begin.

With those words, author and educator Joy DeGruy closed a challenging, thought- provoking talk at Gustavus Adlolphus College. Her 2011 lecture at the Minnesota college delved deeply into the most painful aspect of American history.

That subject is slavery.

DeGruy’s scholarship brings the injustice and inhumanity of slavery in America out of the history books, making connections to today’s social ills. A faculty member at Portland State University, DeGruy is the author of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing.”

The very word makes people uncomfortable, DeGruy said in her talk at the small college. “Just the title, I wondered why I was experiencing such push-back,” she told her audience.

Today, DeGruy will address the legacy of American slavery at two free Black History Month talks at Everett Community College. Her talks, at 11:30 a.m. and again at 6 p.m. in the Wilderness Auditorium of the Henry M. Jackson Conference Center, are free and open to the public.

In her work, based on social science research, DeGruy has developed a theory linking the troubles many black Americans experience today to multigenerational traumas resulting from slavery. Symptoms she believes date back to slavery and the institutional racism that followed abolition 150 years ago include depression and self-destructive behaviors, anger and violence, and what she calls internalized racism.

With master’s degrees in social work and clinical psychology and a doctorate in social work, DeGruy is an assistant professor at Portland State. Her talks here are sponsored by EvCC’s Student Programs Board, Black Student Union, Community Advisory Committee and Outreach and the college Diversity &Equity Center.

DeGruy has taught a graduate course called “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome,” and in 2011 said that “people of color walk in at the 600-level.”

Nigel Lindsey, 20, is president of EvCC’s Black Student Union. He hopes DeGruy’s talks today raise awareness of black history and help people see that racism still exists.

Raised in south Seattle, Lindsey was a student athlete at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon last year. And last year, he said, he heard racial slurs several times while shopping at a nearby Burlington mall.

“We do have an African American in the White House. It’s a step, like many steps,” he said Tuesday. “Racism and discrimination are still alive. It’s little comments, how people react to you. I know firsthand.”

Now living in Everett, Lindsey feels welcome on the EvCC campus. He said about a dozen people regularly attend Black Student Union meetings. “It’s a place for open-minded students. We like to have African Americans there, but it’s open to people of all colors to come together,” he said.

The group is a comfortable place to talk about “touchy topics,” Lindsey said. “No matter how ignorant you think you sound — we’re all ignorant in some ways. I have come to realize that I have discriminated, and have been discriminated against.”

Rickey Mason, 27, a Black Student Union officer last quarter at EvCC, is glad DeGruy is coming to campus today. “It’s important. It’s an opportunity to bring awareness to the college in a compelling way,” Mason said.

Black history “is a vital part of American history,” Mason said. “As Americans, we’re in a very interesting time now. If we want to move forward as a country, some of these things should be brought out.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, muhlstein@heraldnet.com.

Author at EvCC

Joy DeGruy, author of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing,” will present two free Black History Month lectures today at Everett Community College. She will speak from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and at 6 p.m. today in the Henry M. Jackson Conference Center Wilderness Auditorium on campus, 2000 Tower St., Everett. Parking free for evening lecture, and there will be a 5:30 p.m. reception.

More in Local News

Lynnwood robbery leads to lockdown at Edmonds schools

Edmonds police said it was just a precaution as they search around Edmonds-Woodway High School.

1 person shot in Everett thrift store parking lot

Multiple people called 911 after overhearing a loud argument and then multiple gunshots.

Marysville 7-Eleven hit by armed robbers

Officers set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog, but the man couldn’t be found.

2 women struck, injured while crossing busy roads

The first happened Wednesday night in Everett. The second was Thursday morning in Edmonds.

One dead in crash south of Granite Falls

Two cars collided near the intersection of N. Lake Roesiger Road and Hidden Valley Road.

Old Silvana Creamery recalling whole raw milk

The milk was sold at the farm store, directly to customers and at local stores.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
If drivers paid even more, I-405 toll lanes might speed up

A report recommends lifting the maximum toll of $10 and varying it by segment traveled.

Departing mayor’s locally drawn portrait joins city’s pantheon

Artist Elizabeth Person’s portrait of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson will hang with others at City Hall.

Investigation recommends girl shot by officers face charges

The teen is accused of assaulting her boyfriend and the responding police officers.

Most Read