King Davis is professor of research in the School of Information and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He was awarded the Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1971. He is a former Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Mental Health and served from 1990 to 1994 and was director of community mental health services from 1971-1975.
Research on the history of mental health services and policies for African Americans was the subject of a Steve Fund-sponsored presentation by Dr. King Davis from the University of Texas at Austin at the upcoming Black Solidarity Conference at Yale University, on February 12, 2016. Titled “The Central Lunatic Asylum for Colored Insane Files”, the presentation described a long-term research project designed to develop and field test a digital infrastructure for preserving, sharing, and analyzing the historic public records from the Central Lunatic Asylum for Colored Insane (CLACI) in Petersburg, Virginia.
The Asylum was established in 1868 as the first of its kind in the United States. From 2008 to 2012, the project stabilized and digitized over 800,000 public records and documents that detail the origins of the hospital and the racially segregated policies and services provided for close to 100 years. The three-year project is generously funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation of New York. The presentation addressed address the multiple changes in 3 hypotheses about the risk of mental illness in African Americans and how these hypotheses continue to influence help-seeking, use of services, stigma, and access.Dr. Davis discussed how the application of historical archival data analysis, contemporary digital technology, and archival preservation methods combine to increase access and utilization of historical mental health records and documents while maintaining privacy.
The Black Solidarity Conference is the second largest annual student run conference in the United States with over 700 students of color attending from across the country.
The Steve Fund was honored and excited to be sponsoring mental health workshops at BSC for the second consecutive year!
A video of the presentation will be posted here soon. To receive updates about Steve Fund events and information, please click here.