Historical Trauma - The African American Experience 

Videos are from The Visible Child Initiative, a program of the The Family Housing Fund training initiative. 

Historical Trauma - The African American Experience 2



Historical trauma is cumulative and collective. The impact of this type of trauma manifests itself, emotionally and psychologically, in members of different cultural groups (Brave Heart, 2011). As a collective phenomenon, those who never even experienced the traumatic stressor, such as children and descendants, can still exhibit signs and symptoms of trauma


Historical trauma can be experienced by “anyone living in families at one time marked by severe levels of trauma, poverty, dislocation, war, etc., and who are still suffering as a result”

(Cutler, n.d.).



Post Traumatic  Slave Syndrome is a condition that exists as a consequence of centuries of chattel slavery followed by institutionalized racism and oppression have resulted in multigenerational adaptive behavior, some positive reflecting resilience, and others that are harmful and destructive.


Theory of P.T.S.S. was developed by Dr. Joy DeGruy as a result of twelve years of quantitative and qualitative research.

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