William E. Cross, Jr., PhD.
Professor Emeritus, University of Denver
Specialist on the fields of Africana Studies and Black Psychology
The Association of Black Psychology was an outgrowth of the Black Power Movement. One of the earliest topics addressed by the field was the analysis of black identity change linked to the core dynamics of the movement and the creation of black psychology in particular. Two other black psychologists wrote models depicting the change (Dr. Charles Thomas and Dr. Jake Milliones); however, the Cross Model on the Psychology of Nigrescence and his text, Shades of Black (Cross 1991) became most influential in the field. According to Google Scholar, Shadeshas been referenced nearly 3,000 times. The Cross Racial Identity Scale or CRISwas derived from Nigrescence Theory. Within black psychology, Dr. Cross is somewhat controversial, because like Dr. A. J. Franklin and Dr. A. Wade Boykin and the late Harriette P. McAdoo, his work freely and effectively combines/integrates/synthesizes elements of black psychology with mainstream psychology. Over the years, his scholarship helped debunk the negro self-hatred thesis and its corollary, the concept of the pathological black family. His most recent work describes how black identity is enacted in everyday life, and in a work currently under review, he and his associates take on the way the psychology of individual difference influences black identity development. Dr. Cross retired from the academy in June of 2018 and currently lives close to his daughter, Tuere Binta Cross, who works as a therapist at a nearby mental health agency. Dr. Cross is currently writing a book covering his forty-year career in psychology and Africana Studies.