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Gerontologist. 2014 Feb;54(1):108-16. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnt103. Epub 2013 Sep 10.

A review of our roots: blacks in gerontology.

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1
*Address correspondence to Candace S. Brown, MAG, MEd, School of Allied Health Professions, Virginia Commonwealth University, PO Box 980233, Richmond, VA 23298-0233. E-mail: brownc22@vcu.edu.

Abstract

The historical underpinnings in the field of gerontology rest on the contributions of scholars across a myriad of racial and ethnic backgrounds. With the increasing diversity of the adult population, there is a need to increase the number of researchers who study older adults from diverse racial and ethnic populations in general and Black elderly people in particular. Furthermore, it is important to document the participation of Black older adults in our earliest and continuing research efforts. Understanding the historical context and the foundational influence of Black scholars in this field is critical. To realize its humble beginnings, one must become aware of the contributions by Black scholars who have a vested interest in the aging process. With universal similarities and unique differences among older adults, there is a need to acknowledge the past and current scholarship of those who study the aging processes of Blacks while marveling over the future possibilities. The purpose of this review is to elucidate the legacy and current contributions, philosophies, and research of Black scholars in the field of gerontology. In addition, exploration of the theoretical and conceptual frameworks used to establish national and organizational initiatives is reviewed. The impetus in initiating and continuing this work requires a "knowledge of our roots" while moving into the future. It is important to learn the history and significance of Black scholars in gerontology, the contributions of older Blacks, and appreciate the resiliency and marveled life course of this unique population.

KEYWORDS:

Blacks; Historical review; Scholars

PMID:
24022695
PMCID:
PMC4064009
DOI:
10.1093/geront/gnt103
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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