The Remembrance Project: Dr. Chester Pierce, 2017

Dr. Dave Henderson with Dr. Chester Pierce- center
Courtesy of Dave Henderson

Dr. Chester Pierce (center) with Dr. Dave Henderson on (left)

Dr. Chester Middlebrook Pierce was a psychiatrist at MIT for almost 25 years. Born in 1927, he graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1952. Dr. Pierce went on to become president of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and president of the American Orthopsychiatric Association. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences and had an annual research seminar named after him by the National Medical Association.

Founding chair of the Black Psychiatrists of America, Dr. Pierce has profoundly affected American psychiatry and the thinking of African American psychiatrists during the last two decades. While recognized for his substantive scholarship on coping with extreme environments such as the South Pole, he is probably best known for his theories regarding how blacks cope with racism in the United States.

David Henderson is one of many, many young psychiatrists Dr. Pierce mentored.

Back in 1970, Dr, Pierce was the first to coin the term "microaggression"-- as common as denim, now -- to describe the subtle racial putdowns that degrade physical health over a lifetime.

"Dr. Chester Pierce Understood Racism On Multiple Fronts," The Remembrance Project, WBUR, 8 February 2017

Timeline: 2010s
Department: Administration
Career: Health & Medicine
Object: Audio
Collection: Administrators, Faculty, Harvard, Mentorship, Rising Voices 1995-Present