African Americans
Biracial, Multiracial Identity
Faculty/Staff Development
Human Rights
Internalized Oppression
Mental Health
Prisons/Prison Industrial Complex/Police
Racism/Racial Justice
U.S. History
Violence Against Women
Violence-Prevention, Conflict Resolution
Youth/Student Activism

Stacey Patton, PhD, is an award-winning author and journalist who writes about race, politics, popular culture, child welfare issues, diversity in media, and higher education. Through her workshops, keynote addresses, and multi-media presentations, Dr. Patton blends the power of her personal narrative with her expert knowledge of the history of American race relations.

Patton teaches journalism at Howard University in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications and is a research associate at the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University.

As an adoptee, child abuse survivor, and former foster youth, Patton is a nationally-recognized child advocate whose research focuses on the intersections of race and childhood. She is the author of That Mean Old Yesterday - A Memoir (Simon and Schuster), Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won't Save Black America (Beacon Press), and the forthcoming book, Strung Up: The Lynching of Black Children and Teenagers in America, 1880-1968 (Beacon Press).

Patton's writings have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, Chronicle of Higher Education, Al Jazeera, BBC News, DAME Magazine and She has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, CBS, Al Jazeera, The Tavis Smiley Show, Here and Now, and Democracy Now.  

She has received reporting awards from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, Scripps Howard Foundation, New York Women in Communications, National (and New York) Association of Black Journalists, The Education Writer's Association, and she is the 2015 recipient of the Vernon Jarrett Medal for Excellence in reporting on American race relations.  The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children also bestowed her with the Outstanding Service and Advancement of Cultural Competency in Child Maltreatment Prevention and Intervention Award.


“Dr. Patton's talk was based on historically grounded research yet it was clear and accessible to all audiences. My students left the room thinking it was eye-opening. In the words of some of the attendees, the talk was powerful, amazing, and inspiring. Dr. Patton was also approachable and caring with our students and community members.”
– Dr. Sandra Mendiola Garcia, Assistant Professor of History, University of North Texas

“I highly recommend Stacey Patton as a speaker. She is a very exciting and engaging academic who sheds light on important issues that people are unaware of, including myself. I plan on inviting her to speak at future events I’m planning and I strongly recommend that you do the same.”
— Dr. Bertin M. Louis, Jr., Associate Professor of Anthropology and Africana Studies, Vice Chair, Africana Studies Program, University of Tennessee

“Dr. Stacey an unapologetic advocate for the most vulnerable members of African American communities. Principled in her approach, not only does she challenge white supremacy but also the ways in which African Americans have been complicit in our own oppression. She is a truth seeker and a truth teller. Stacey Patton has the voice and vision that we desperately need.”
— Adisa A. Alkebulan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Africana Studies, San Diego State University

“Dr. Stacey Patton served as the keynote speaker for the National Association of Peace Education 19th Annual Conference at Dillard University on March 8, 2018…She did an outstanding job discussing alternatives to physical punishment of children and to educate parents about the harms to children's physical, intellectual, and psychological development.
— Dr. Raymond Delaney, Professor of Criminal Justice, Dillard University

“Dr. Patton’s workshop…was impactful, engaging and insightful. Many pediatricians commented that it was one of the best educational activities that they had attended. Dr. Patton has also delivered trainings on race and corporal punishment, the school and foster care-to-prison pipelines, and Adverse Childhood Experiences before packed audiences at a number of community events here in New Orleans. She was also well received by my public health and social work students at Tulane University who she trained to combine digital journalism techniques with public health campaigns around Adverse Childhood Experiences.
— Stacie Schrieffer LeBlanc, M.Ed., J.D., Director of New Orleans Children's Advocacy Center & Audrey Hepburn CARE Center, Children's Hospital

“The Learning Community on Poverty and Inequality at the University of Michigan School of Social Work invited Dr. Stacey Patton to examine the ways in which corporal punishment is discussed and regarded in Black families and communities…The event benefitted the social work community at the University by introducing history, culture, and research associated with corporal punishment in Black families and communities, as well as facilitating discussions around the role of professionals, parents, and communities to promote more positive disciplinary and parenting methods.
— Joyce Y. Lee, LSW, LLMSW, Parenting in Context Research Laboratory, Child Development and Family Relationships Laboratory, University of Michigan

“Attendees are still buzzing about how much they enjoyed Dr. Stacey Patton. She was most impressive in stature and compelling in presentation.”
— Jacqueline Ross Brown First Shiloh Baptist Church, Buffalo, New York

“Dr. Patton brings a rare perspective, thought-provoking; yet so powerful. She is dynamic in her presentation and engaging with her audience. Her courage and talent shine through. Words which come to mind to describe Dr. Patton include inspirational, bold and creative.”
— Maria Paradiso Social Worker, State of New Jersey


Trauma-Informed Teaching in the Classroom: Supporting Student Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on students, exacerbating existing mental health challenges and creating new ones. Additionally, the prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress among students is alarmingly high. This workshop is designed for edicators who want to create a supportive learning environment for all students, especially those who have experienced trauma as well as play a crucial role in supporting students' mental health and wellbeing by adopting a trauma-informed teaching approach. In this workshop, you will learn some basics about the brain as well as important information about the impact of ACEs and toxic stress on students' learning and mental health. We will also explore practical strategies for how you can implement trauma-informed teaching in your classroom. Topics covered:
• Understanding trauma and its impact on learning and mental health
• The prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and toxic stress among students
• The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ mental health
• Principles of trauma-informed teaching and creating a safe and supportive learning environment
• The basics of brain development in children, adolescents, and young adults
• How trauma, toxic stress, and digital addiction change the brain
• Recognizing triggers in the classroom
• Practical strategies for trauma-informed teaching in the classroom
• Practicing self-care and setting boundaries to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue

Healing-Centered Pedagogy: Transforming Trauma Into Thrivance and Healthy Learning Environments
How can educators create safe learning environments for students who’ve experienced or witnessed a lifetime of trauma? They’ve lived through events like school shootings, police violence, racial uprisings, natural disasters, the pandemic. Or their personal lives have been scarred by physical abuse, sexual assault, neighborhood violence, poverty, neglect. Research has shown that by the time they reach college age, 66 to 85 percent of youth report lifetime traumatic event exposure, with many reporting multiple experiences. For Black, Indigenous, and other young people of color, young immigrants and refugees, queer youth, and current and former foster youth, the risk factors are even higher. In this session, Dr. Patton looks at healing-centered pedagogy, showing how trauma affects student learning and development, and shares ways to create safe learning spaces that help students thrive. She’ll offer practical tools and brain-based teaching strategies that can be used in person or in a virtual setting. Dr. Patton will also look at how to be a safe mirror for students without turning into a therapist and suffering compassion fatigue.

From Awake to WORK: Moving from Implicit Bias to Racial Equity
Implicit bias has become a popular buzzword in diversity, equity, and inclusion work, especially in the wake of recent social unrest in the United States. We’ve been taught to think about a racist as someone who consciously and intentionally seeks to hurt people based on race. But as many anti-racist researchers and scholars have noted, much of the racism that gets perpetuated is neither conscious nor intentional but is still harmful. Implicit bias implies that there’s a lack of awareness about racism, or that it is below awareness. Many people hide behind implicit bias as a way to say, “I don’t know how racism really works. I don’t have a role in perpetuating structural racism and violence.”  They try to be dissonant about it. Understanding implicit bias is a good thing, but it is not enough — to effectively achieve racial justice and equity, we must focus on changing processes and systemic imbalances, not just changing minds. In this interactive behavior-based workshop, attendees will become grounded in the terminology on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice as part of the spectrum of the work. Attendees will be prompted to think about their own assumptions and biases, behaviors, practices, and experiences. We will explore how to move beyond raising awareness of bias to learning how to embed ongoing DEI strategies in the institution’s priorities and values, day-to-day practices, processes, and operations.

"White Tears:" The Forensic History and Social Neuroscience of White Trauma and Racism
The term “white tears” has been used to describe the defensive and protective emotional reactions that white people exhibit when challenged about racism. These feelings of anger, fear, guilt, and disassociation are often weaponized against people of color and act as a barrier to understanding, healing, and systemic change. White tears are also a symptom of old unresolved complex traumas and destructive aggression that white people have inherited from previous generations of European ancestors who shared legacies of collective trauma prior to contact with Indigenous cultures around the world. Researchers have explored the transgenerational consequences of racial discrimination for the lives of African Americans and other historically marginalized groups and how those memories and pain is written in the DNA of these groups today. But what about white people?  How did trauma become engrained in the genes of white people and lead to maladaptive behaviors such as racial discrimination against others perceived as threats? How did pain from hundreds or even thousands of years ago affect white people’s sense of safety, belonging, social engagement with and compassion for other groups? White Americans come from societies that suffered profound violence and trauma that was passed on from generation to generation. These traumatic experiences affected how their ancestors felt about themselves, interacted with each other from a space of survival mode, formed insecure attachment with offspring, parented in ways that ensured the survival of racism and racial violence. This workshop addresses the historical roots and legacy of white people’s collective traumas, starting from the Middle Ages in Europe on through the Black Lives Matter era. Attendees will receive an in-depth exploration of the wounds that white people inherited from ancestors who perpetrated colonization, slavery, apartheid, genocide, segregation, and other forms of racist state sanctioned violence.  Using social neuroscience, the Polyvagal Theory, attachment theory, epigenetics and other brain-based approaches, we will learn how white people carry ancestral wounds beyond their conscious awareness and how multigenerational adaptive behavior continues to perpetuate cycles of individual and systemic racism.
Other Speech Topics Include:
  • Media Bias and Black Communities
  • The Historical Roots of Corporal Punishment in Black Communities
  • The Racist Roots of American Pediatrics
  • The Racist Devaluation of Black Children in American Education
  • Who's Afraid of Black Sexuality?
  • How The Crack Baby Grew Up: Race, Childhood and America's War on Drugs
  • Spare the Rod: Race, Religion and Corporal Punishment in American Life
  • The Lynching of Black Children and Teenagers in America, 1880 to the Present