Joy DeGruy to Deliver Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Address

Dr. Joy DeGruy, nationally and internationally renowned researcher, educator, author and presenter, will deliver the 2021 address for Maryville University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

DeGruy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in communication, a master’s degree in social work (MSW), a master’s degree in clinical psychology and a PhD in social work research. She serves as an assistant professor at Portland State University and the president of JDP Inc. DeGruy has more than 25 years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work. She conducts workshops and trainings in the areas of mental health, social justice and culture specific social service model development.

DeGruy authored the book entitled “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Enduring Legacy of Injury and Healing,” which addresses the residual impacts of trauma on African Descendants in the Americas. “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” lays the groundwork for understanding how the past has influenced the present, and opens up the discussion of how we can eliminate non-productive attitudes, beliefs and adaptive behaviors and build upon the strengths we have gained from the past to heal injuries of today.

“Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: The Study Guide” is designed to help individuals, groups and organizations better understand the functional and dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors that have been transmitted to us through multiple generations. The Guide encourages and broadens the discussion and implications about the specific issues that were raised in the P.T.S.S. book and provides the practical tools to help transform negative attitudes and behaviors into positive ones.

DeGruy has published numerous refereed journal articles and has developed the “African American Male Adolescent Respect Scale,” an assessment instrument designed to broaden our understanding of the challenges facing these youth in an effort to prevent their over-representation in the justice system.

Randall Robinson, Al Sharpton and many more have praised the book. Susan Taylor, editorial director of Essence Magazine says that “’Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome’ is a master work … Her book is the balm we need to heal ourselves and our relationships. It is the gift of wholeness.”

Adelaide Sanford, vice chancellor of the Board of Regents for the State of New York, states that “Dr. Joy DeGruy’s mesmerizing, riveting book is vital reading for our time … With Dr. DeGruy’s potent words we can and will heal.”

In addition to her pioneering work in the explanatory theory and book, “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome,” DeGruy has developed a culturally based education model for working with children and adults of color.

DeGruy will speak on Tuesday, January 26 at 12 p.m. The celebration will be a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please follow this link to register:

Additionally, Maryville’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is hosting a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Video Competition answering the question “The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Where do we go from here?” Videos should address social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion and be no longer than 90 seconds. All submissions are due January 10. Winner receives a $100 gift card. Contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at for more information.


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