This page, Celebrating Black History Month, is offered by

News Celebrating Black History Month

  • Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
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A Message from the Office of Race, Equity, & Inclusion:

The metaphor of Sankofa - depicted as a bird with its feet firmly forward and head reaching back - represents the importance of gaining knowledge from the past and bringing it into the present to make positive progress. Amidst a global pandemic that has disproportionately impacted the Black community, it's important we collectively acknowledge and learn about the African American experience to better address inequities. Black History Month gives us a great opportunity to do just that. Officially recognized in the U.S. in 1976, Black History Month is the annual celebration of African American achievements but also an examination of barriers faced by the community. For instance, we can celebrate that this year a woman who identifies as Black and South Asian was inaugurated as Vice President, which marks several firsts for the U.S. However, we must also question why it took so long. So please join us this month as we reflect, learn, and challenge ourselves to progress towards a more equitable future.

Upcoming OREI Events

All events will be held virtually. To receive meeting links, please RVSP by emailing

Promoting Civility in the Workplace

A conversation about workplace microaggressions, situational tips, & an overview on reporting discrimination.

  • Date: Monday, Feb 8, 2021 Time: 12pm-1pm

Popcorn & Discussion

Bring your favorite popcorn or lunch as we watch, react, and discuss media clips that speak directly to the Black experience.

  • Date: Friday, Feb 12, 2021 Time: 12pm-1pm

Using Data to Fight Inequity

A panel discussion w/ DMH data experts on how data can & should be used to advance equity, and where it currently falls short.

  • Date: Friday, Feb 19, 2021 Time: 12pm-1pm

Defining Allyship

Join us as we exam, challenge, and promote the meaning of allyship in the fight for equity.

  • Date: TBA Time: TBA


Black Pioneers in Mental Health

Mamie Phipps Clark
Solomon Carter Fuller
Altha J. Stewart

Mamie Phipps Clark

A social psychologist who focused on the development of self-consciousness in Black preschool children. Her research & expert testimony became instrumental to ending school segregation in the Brown v. Board of Education case.

Solomon Carter Fuller

Acknowledged as the first African American psychiatrist, he finally received recognition for his research on the Alzheimer's disease. He later become associate professor of both pathology and neurology at Boston University by 1921.

Mary Eliza Mahoney

Credited as America's first Black professional nurse. She graduated from New England Hospital for Women & Children's training school for nurses in 1879. She also became one of the first Black members of the American Nurses Association.



Massachusetts Department of Mental Health 

The Department of Mental Health, as the State Mental Health Authority, assures and provides access to services and supports to meet the mental health needs of individuals of all ages; enabling them to live, work and participate in their communities.