Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, often described as the Queen Mother of Black Consciousness, died this morning at the age of 80. According to friends and family, Welsing suffered a stroke on New Year’s Day and was in critical condition at a Washington, D.C. hospital.
Dr. Welsing became famous for her work the Cress Theory of Color-Confrontation in 1974 and later published The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors in 1991. Her books explored the symbols and systemic practices of White supremacy and revealed the psychological dynamics of racism. The Isis Papers also explored the Black family structure, AIDS and the crisis of Black male and female relationships. In the Isis Papers Welsing wrote:
“The whole of white culture is designed to say that whites have [certain] qualities. Everything possible is done to demonstrate this. First, you have [only] white players, then blacks come in, but a white has to be the quarterback. Western culture has to project white supremacy. When blacks succeed athletically, whites are forced ‘up against the psychological wall’ because white youngsters are ‘brought up to believe a white has to be superior’.”
The Los Angeles Times said of Welsing that she was “The first scientist to psychoanalyze White racism in the history of Western psychiatry, rather than focusing on the victims of racism.”
Welsing was born March 18, 1935 in Chicago, the daughter of a doctor and a teacher. She attended Antioch College and Howard University College of Medicine, where she received her Doctorate in 1962. She went on to work as the assistant professor of pediatrics at the Howard University College of Medicine. However, when her controversial work was first published in 1971, it caused great controversy. Because of this her contract was not renewed by the school in 1975. Welsing then went on to work for more than 25 years as a staff physician for the Department of Human Services in Washington, D.C. In addition, she served as the clinical director for two schools that served emotionally troubled children. Welsing specialized in child and general psychiatry and her books were the basis for measuring the damage of racism in America and the world.