MAY 8, 1969
Members of the Black Psychiatrists of America interrupted the breakfast of the trustees of the American Psychiatric Association. The Black psychiatrists shared a list of demands that included a rise in Black leadership, a call to desegregate mental health facilities and a rule to bar psychiatrists guilty of racial discrimination.
Their founding president, Charles Pierce, was especially concerned about television: “American homes have more television sets than bathtubs, refrigerators or telephones; 95 percent of American homes have television sets.”
Convinced that the way to change young hearts would be through television, he became a senior adviser for a new educational show for preschoolers known as “Sesame Street,” which featured a racially diverse cast. “Sesame Street” would go on to become one of the most successful shows of all time, creating iconic characters that resonate to this day.