2018 - Social Justice & Equity Lecture

Dr. Joyce DeGruy

Speaker: Dr. Joyce DeGruy
Date: February 8, 2018
Time: 6PM
Location: Albert Taylor Hall


Dr. Joy DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher, educator, author and presenter. Her seminars have been lauded as the most dynamic and inspirational currently being presented on the topics of culture, race relations and contemporary social issues. She is a tell-it-like-it-is ambassador for healing and a voice for those who’ve struggled in search of the past, and continue to struggle through the present.

As a result of twelve years of quantitative and qualitative research, Dr. DeGruy has developed her theory of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (P.T.S.S.), and published her findings in the groundbreaking book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome - America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing. P.T.S.S. is a theory that explains the etiology of many of the adaptive survival behaviors in African American communities throughout the United States and the Diaspora.

The book incorporates her research in both America and Africa, as well as her twenty years of experience as a social work practitioner and consultant to public and private organizations. In the book and her presentations, Dr. DeGruy examines the conditions that led to the Atlantic slave trade and allowed the pursuant racism and efforts at repression to continue through present day. She then looks at the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that African Americans faced as the result of the slave trade. Next she discusses the adaptive behaviors they developed—both positive and negative—that allowed them to survive and often even thrive.


Dr. DeGruy concludes by reevaluating those adaptive behaviors that have been passed down through generations and where appropriate. She explores replacing behaviors which are today maladaptive with ones that will promote, and sustain the healing and ensure the advancement of African American culture.

Dr. DeGruy’s newly released Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: The Study Guide revisits the topics she covers in P.T.S.S. and provides a detailed mapping of how one can begin the change process in your personal life, employment, family and in your community. She illustrates how—with thoughtful self–exploration—each of us can evaluate our behaviors and replace negative and damaging behaviors with those that will promote, ensure and sustain the healing and advancement of African Americans.

Her clients have included academic institutions such as Oxford University, Harvard University, Columbia University, Fisk University, Smith College, Morehouse College, University of Chicago, and Portland State University where she is currently an Assistant Professor. She has keynoted at a number of national conferences including the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education and the White Privilege Conference.

Dr. DeGruy has also presented to federal and state agencies such as The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Probation and Parole agencies, Juvenile Justice Judges Association, and Police agencies. Major corporations and companies such as Nordstrom, Nike, the NBA Rookies Camp, and the renowned G-CAPP program, all have experienced Dr. Joy's expertise and charisma.

A highly sought-after expert, she has appeared on CNN, ABC, NPR, Pacifica Network stations nationwide and in The New York Times, Essence Magazine, The Journal of Black Psychology as well as numerous other publications.

In addition to her own books, she has chapters in Should America Pay: Slavery and The Raging Debate on Reparations (Harper Collins Publishing, 2003) and in Impact of Genocide & Terrorism Post Slavery Syndrome: A Multigenerational Look at African American’s Injury, Healing and Resilience (2010).

Dr. DeGruy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications; two master degrees in Social Work and Psychology; and a PhD in Social Work Research. With over twenty years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work, she gives a practical insight into various cultural and ethnic groups that form the basis of contemporary American society.