Sinmi and Parise Carmichael-Murphy. Hidden Histories book cover

Written by Sinmi Ekundayo and Parise Carmichael-Murphy

Sinmi is a Year 9 student with an avid interest in politics and humanities subjects.

Parise is a PhD Education student who is passionate about decolonising the curriculum and widening access to the psychological professions.

Hidden Histories: Black in Psychology celebrates the contributions of Black people to the field of psychology and its allied professions. It is an open resource for people of all ages who are interested in psychology’s past, present and future. The booklet encourages young people to develop critical thinking skills by exploring ideas of anti-racist psychology, social change and activism, race and racism across psychological practice, and racial disparities in mental health. It also introduces readers to the requirements and steps needed to pursue a career in psychology and highlights how a range of skills, qualifications, and experiences can inform and shape our interests and expertise in psychology. 

Parise Carmichael-Murphy and Adam Danquah are co-authors of Hidden Histories: Black in Psychology; they developed the resource in the hope that it has the potential to inspire future generations of anti-racist psychologists. Sinmi Ekundayo is listed in the ‘Acknowledgements’ of Hidden Histories: Black in Psychology as one of many contributors who helped to support and develop the book. 

Sinmi was invited to review Hidden Histories: Black in Psychology by her teacher Laura Morris. Sinmi took a printed copy of the booklet home and reviewed it over a few weeks. Sinmi provided some really insightful feedback that highlighted areas of interest and some spaces for improvement. Sinmi’s comments highlighted some of the terminology used that could be better explained and in response, we added the term ‘cultural competence’ to the glossary. 

Next, Parise invited Sinmi to collaborate on a blog post to highlight Hidden Histories: Black in Psychology. Some of the feedback and comments from Sinmi’s review have been expanded on in this blog:  

“The fact that African Psychology is such a new concept that I have never even heard of it is astounding. It seems so simple when you think critically, obviously the culture you grow up in will affect the way your psyche functions and will not align with a completely different culture’s way of interpreting the human mind. It’s fascinating! I love this booklet so much. 

I’ve always felt a bit of alienation from psychology as it always felt like a very white field to go into and now I understand why. Honestly, if the goal of Hidden Histories: Black in Psychology is to get more Black students into psychology it will succeed. Hidden Histories: Black in Psychology introduces psychologists that are telling our stories and interpreting them in a way that feels personal. 

The poem at the end by J.Chambers is beautifully written. I love the ‘Useful Links’ section at the end where they list all the organisations that were made for Black education by Black people, it makes me feel so hopeful, especially since I have first-hand experience with some of them. It’s good to know someone is looking out for us. A lot of the time I was stopping to look further into new ideas and people I was being introduced to. 

I sincerely believe that keeping Hidden Histories: Black in Psychology out of the curriculum is a disservice to ourselves. It would help Black students feel a stronger connection to themselves and psychology and I believe it would endow non-Black students with a sense of cultural empathy. The exemplary Black psychologists introduced in the booklet would intrigue anyone, but especially young Black students (such as myself) who will finally see themselves reflected in a field that feels very exclusive to rich white men. 

This booklet is tremendously helpful in increasing Black students’ confidence in their ability to succeed in psychology in a way that isn’t too distant or convoluted. I’d recommend this to everyone, regardless of race. It’s genuinely an interesting insight into psychology that anyone would be interested in.”

To read, download and share the Hidden Histories: Black in Psychology resource, please use the following link: https://gmhigher.ac.uk/resources/hidden-histories-black-in-psychology/

We thank Laura Morris, our teacher and friend, for supporting us both to connect and collaborate on this blog post. Laura is Head of Religious Studies and Citizenship at Cedar Mount Academy and has a whole-school responsibility for anti-discrimination.

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