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Under the Strain of ColorHarlem's Lafargue Clinic and the Promise of an Antiracist Psychiatry$
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Gabriel N. Mendes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453502

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453502.001.0001

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“An Experiment in the Social Basis of Psychotherapy”

(p.154) Epilogue
Under the Strain of Color

Gabriel N. Mendes

Cornell University Press

This epilogue argues that Wertham and his colleagues at Lafargue Clinic not only fashioned a conceptual framework for addressing the social basis of mental illness among oppressed people, but also institutionalized that framework to influence the lives of thousands of people. The book shows how this intervention distinguished the Lafargue Clinic in the history of American psychiatry. Lafargue Clinic contributed more than any other therapeutic institution by linking race and class oppression as a source of mental disorder and personality problems. Moreover, the clinic’s founders and supporters argued that mental health care for African Americans was an extension of democracy into the fundamental institutional life of the nation.

Keywords:   Lafargue Clinic, mental illness, psychiatry, therapeutic institution, race, class oppression, mental disorder, personality problems, Fredric Wertham

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