Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing
From acclaimed author and researcher Dr. Joy DeGruy comes this fascinating book that explores the psychological and emotional impact on African Americans after enduring the horrific Middle Passage, over 300 years of slavery, followed by continued discrimination.
From the beginning of American chattel slavery in the 1500’s, until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, Africans were hunted like animals, captured, sold, tortured, and raped. They experienced the worst kind of physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuse. Given such history, Dr. Joy DeGruy asked the question, “Isn’t it likely those enslaved were severely traumatized? Furthermore, did the trauma and the effects of such horrific abuse end with the abolition of slavery?”
Emancipation was followed by another hundred years of institutionalized subjugation through the enactment of Black Codes and Jim Crow laws, peonage and convict leasing, and domestic terrorism and lynching. Today the violations continue, and when combined with the crimes of the past, they result in further unmeasured injury. What do repeated traumas visited upon generation after generation of a people produce? What are the impacts of the ordeals associated with chattel slavery, and with the institutions that followed, on African Americans today?
Dr. DeGruy answers these questions and more as she encourages African Americans to view their attitudes, assumptions, and emotions through the lens of history. By doing so, she argues they will gain a greater understanding of the impact centuries of slavery and oppression has had on African Americans.
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome is an important read for all Americans, as the institution of slavery has had an impact on every race and culture.
“A masterwork. [DeGruy’s] deep understanding, critical analysis, and determination to illuminate core truths are essential to addressing the long-lived devastation of slavery. Her book is the balm we need to heal ourselves and our relationships. It is a gift of wholeness.”—Susan Taylor, former Editorial Director of Essence magazine