Dr. Na’im Akbar, Decades of making Tallahassee proud
By Dorothy Inman-Johnson
Special to the Outlook
Dr. Na’im Akbar, with more achievements than can be covered in this article, is the Capital Outlook’s Person of the Week during the same week his son’s law firm has been selected Minority Business of the Year at Tallahassee’s Annual MED Week Conference. Dr. Akbar is an internationally known author, lecturer, and expert for his scholarship and research in the area of African-American Psychology; and a native of Tallahassee. Though he changed his name in the 1970s, he was born Luther B. Weems Jr. to Luther Weems and Bessie Weems King at the Florida A and M College Hospital. He grew up in Frenchtown where his office is now located in the converted home of his grandmother. He received his pre-school through 12th grade education from the Florida A and M College N.B. Young Nursery School, the Lucy Moten Demonstration School, and FAMU High School where he was student council president, yearbook editor, and graduated salutatorian of his class. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
He served as chairman of Morehouse College’s Department of Psychology and on the faculty of Norfolk State University before returning home to Tallahassee in the late 1970s, with his wife, daughter, and twin sons, to join the faculty of Florida State University. He retired from FSU in 2008, after a distinguished 28 year career, to devote full time as President of his private consulting and publishing company. Acclaimed by Essence Magazine as “one of the world’s preeminent psychologists in the development of an African-centered approach in modern psychology”, he has been a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Tony Brown’s Journal, The Geraldo Show, and The Tavis Smiley State of Black America Annual Forums. In addition to Essence Magazine, he has been featured in Jet Magazine, The Washington Post and many other national and international publications. His recent books include the Akbar Papers in African Psychology, Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery, and New Visions of Black Men.
His professional service includes several terms on the Board of the National Association of Black Psychologists to which he was elected President in 1987, on the editorial board of the Journal of Black Studies, and associate editor of the Journal of Black Psychology. Along with his dedication to scholarly pursuits, Dr. Akbar has dedicated much energy and time to serving the community. He was a charter member of the FAMU Friends of the Black Archives, a charter member of the Riley House Museum, co-founder of the Tallahassee chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists, President of the Board of the Frenchtown Community Development Corporation since its inception, and a life member of the Tallahassee Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Dr. Na’im Akbar is truly a native son who has been making Tallahassee proud for many years; and being named Capital Outlook’s Person of the Week is way overdue.
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