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Fullilove, Mindy Thompson 1950-

FULLILOVE, Mindy Thompson 1950-


Born October 15, 1950, in Irvington, NJ; daughter of Ernest Leroy and Margaret Aileen (maiden name, Brown) Thompson; married Michael J. Kaufmann, August 21, 1971 (divorced, November 1983); married Robert E. Fullilove, December 23, 1983; children: (first marriage) Kenneth, Dina, Molly; (second marriage) Robert E. Education: Bryn Mawr College, A.B., 1971; Columbia University, M.S., 1974, M.D., 1978.


Office—New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University, 1051 Riverside Dr., Unit 29, New York, NY 10032-1013. E-mail—[email protected]


Psychiatrist and author. New York Hospital, New York, NY, resident, 1978-81; Montefiore Hospital, Bronx, NY, resident, 1981-82, staff psychiatrist, 1982-83; Bayview-Hunter's Point Foundation, San Francisco, CA, staff psychiatrist, 1983-90; New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University, New York, NY, research psychiatrist and professor of clinical psychiatry and public health, 1990—. Cofounder of NYC RECOVERS, an alliance of organizations that have incorporated New York's 9/11 recovery into their ongoing work.


Falk Fellow, University of Pittsburgh, 1998; honorary doctorate, Chatham College, 1999, and Bank Street College of Education, 2002; Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Investigator Award.


(With Ernest Thompson) Homebody Came to Orange: A Story of People's Power, Bridgebuilder Press (Newark, NJ), 1976.

The House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1999.

Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do about It, One World/Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Editor of The Black Family: Mental Health Perspectives, 1976. Also author of numerous articles, book chapters, and monographs.


Mindy Thompson Fullilove is a psychiatrist who has conducted extensive research into the psychological effects of community displacement and disruption. In her book The House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place, Fullilove uses a collection of personal essays to discuss her thesis that "place has an important but heretofore little recognized role in the full human development of any individual," as noted by Patricia A. Moore in Kliatt. Fullilove discusses her belief that political and economic displacement will be one of the foremost problems of the twenty-first century. Through the ten essays in The House of Joshua, the reader meets Fullilove's African-American father and white mother, who represent the author's first role models as crusaders for justice. The essays then focus on various stages in Fullilove's life, including her straddling of two worlds, her struggle to find her place at Columbia Medical School, and the raising of her children.

Noting that "Fullilove's poetic family reminiscences form the core of her inquiry into the critical role of place and family in human psychology," a Publishers Weekly contributor commented that Fullilove "deftly draws on myths and folktales and on medical, sociological, cultural and religious insights to support" her beliefs. Danna C. Bell-Russel wrote in Library Journal that The House of Joshua "turns out to be more of a biography of herself and her family than a sociological study." Bell-Russel also noted, "Fullilove movingly describes family and friends as she watches her children find their own sense of place." Writing in Booklist, Grace Fill called the book "an extraordinary collection of highly intelligent and beautifully written essays."

In Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do about It, Fullilove discusses how urban renewal has brought about cultural devastation, or what she calls "root shock," to most African-American inner-city communities. To illustrate her point, she focuses on three different urban settings: the Hill District of Pittsburgh, the Central Ward in Newark, and the small Virginia city of Roanoke. Through the use of oral histories, photographs, charts, and personal narratives, Fullilove reveals the vibrant pre-World War II black communities in these cities and then compares them with the broken postwar communities that were at odds with themselves and the outside world. Fullilove argues that urban renewal efforts dating from 1949 to 1973 were the primary cause of these drastic changes, and she provides strategies for resolutions to some of the problems. Alan Moores, writing in Booklist, stated, "Solutions are not easy, of course, but Fullilove puts forth an aesthetic of true 'urban renewal' from which urban planners and thinking citizens can draw inspiration." Jonathan Yardley commented in the Washington Post Book World that Fullilove's solutions "have a considerable pie-in-the sky quality to them, but that doesn't really matter. What counts is throwing light on the problem, and this Fullilove does with authority and passion."

Mindy Thompson Fullilove told CA: "I have been interested in writing since I began to read at age seven. I loved books and always wanted to make them. My books are empirical, that is, I have to collect lots of data before writing. In working on the books, I try to understand the ideas precisely, get the facts right, and describe everything as clearly as possible.

"As a young writer I had the idea that writing poured perfectly from the soul. I was quite shocked to discover that writing was a craft and I was even more upset to learn that I wasn't very good at it. I read somewhere that, while not everyone was a talented writer, everyone could write clearly. I find that, since I took up writing clearly, people say things like, 'You write very well.'

"In my books, I've been able to write about things that I think people should know. I like to think that the more we know about the world, the better we will be at taking care of it and of each other. I hope my books will contribute to making peace in the world."



Booklist, April 1, 1999, Grace Fill, review of The House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place, p. 1367; May 1, 2004, Alan Moores, review of Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do about It, p. 1529.

Chicago Sun-Times, March 30, 2004, Debra Pickett, "The Chilling Stories behind Black AIDS Statistics," p. 24.

Essence, October, 2004, Janice K. Bryant, review of Root Shock, p. 146.

Kliatt, July, 2002, Patricia A. Moore, review of The House of Joshua, p. 35.

Library Journal, March 15, 1999, Danna C. Bell-Russel, review of The House of Joshua, p. 99.

New Pittsburgh Courier, March 11, 1998, Shawna Burgess, "Fulliloves Are First Falk Fellow Inductees," section A, p. 1.

Publishers Weekly, February 15, 1999, review of The House of Joshua, p. 95; April 19, 2004, review of Root Shock, p. 51.

Washington Post Book World, June 10, 2004, Jonathan Yardley, review of Root Shock, section C, p. 3.


Property Rights Foundation of America Web site, (October 20, 2004), author biography.

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