Black History & Acupuncture in America

In recognition of Black History Month, I want to share an article written last week by Tenisha Dandridge, LAc, in which she shares some little-known history about how African-Americans used acupuncture as a tool to fight racial injustice in the 1970’s, and in doing so were some of the earliest pioneers of acupuncture in the United States.

shakur
Dr. Mutulu Shakur (Tupac’s stepfather), activist and acupuncturist at the Lincoln Detox Center from 1971-1978.

In the late 1960s and early 70s, the black and Latino communities in Brooklyn were struggling with widespread addiction to heroin and methadone, due in large part to racist US government policies that supplied these communities with drugs and withheld resources necessary for care. So much so that a group of Black Panthers, Young Lords, and other activists literally took over a wing of the dilapidated Lincoln Hospital and refused to leave, using the space to provide community healthcare and addiction treatment for their community. This was the birth of the Lincoln Detox Center, which was the first drug rehabilitation program in American to incorporate acupuncture. This later led to the foundation of the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) and is a fore-runner of the community acupuncture model used across the country today.

Read Tenisha’s article by clicking here.

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