Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

Noted Afrocentric scholar Nai’m Akbar, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, will deliver the first of two keynote speeches marking Lafayette College’s celebration of Black History Month at 7 p.m. Friday, February 11, in the Williams Center for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

Akbar has been acclaimed by Essence magazine as “one of the world’s preeminent psychologists and a pioneer in the development of an African-centered approach in modern psychology.” He will speak on Lafayette’s Black History Month theme, “Black by Nature, Gifted by the Spirit, and Abled by God!”

A second keynote address will be given by author and professor Nikki Giovanni at 7 p.m. Sunday, February 20, in Colton Chapel.

One of Akbar’s books, Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery, is being discussed in Black History Month “Read To Lead Series,” with session at 7 p.m. every Tuesday in February at the Portlock Black Cultural Center.

Akbar was invited to speak by Robert E. Bedford, Lafayette’s assistant dean of students and director of intercultural development. The two shared a professional relationship for a number of years at the University of Indiana.

“I am very appreciative of his scholarly works, particularly in the area of psychology,” says Bedford. “Most of all, I think he is one of the most brilliant minds of our times. I can only think of one or two people that I have heard who can speak on his level. He challenges individuals on a day-to-day basis to elevate and emancipate their minds. He always leaves people spellbound about how intellectual capacity can be used to its full potential.”

Books authored by Akbar include The Community of Self, Light from Ancient Africa, and Natural Psychology and Human Transformation. He is director of his private consulting firm, Mind Productions and Associates, Inc. Akbar has been interviewed on the television shows “Tony Brown’s Journal,” “The Geraldo Show,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and BET’s “Our Voices.” Articles about him have appeared in Essence, Ebony Man, The Washington Post, and many other newspapers.

Akbar’s academic career includes instructing as associate professor at Norfolk State University and as chairman of the Morehouse College psychology department for three years. He has served on the boards of directors of a variety of civic and professional organizations, including several terms on the board of the National Association of Black Psychologists, to which he was elected president in 1987-88. He has been on the editorial board of the Journal of Black Studies and for eight years was associate editor of the Journal of Black Psychology.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, with undergraduate and doctoral degrees in psychology, Akbar has received many honors for his contributions to his specialized studies of the psychology of African-Americans. Among these are the Annual Member Award and recognition as a Distinguished Black Psychologist by the National Association of Black Psychologists.

Nai’m Akbar Days have been declared by the mayors of Atlantic City, N.J. (1986); Cleveland, Ohio (1988); Jackson, Miss. (1990); and Cincinnati, Ohio (1995). Akbar was a recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Scholar Award at Florida State University in 1987. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania awarded him the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 1993. Akbar has been received at well over 500 colleges, universities, conferences, and symposia throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. In 1995, he was honored as a Development Chief at Abono Lakeside Village near Kumasai, Ghana.

Categorized in: News and Features