Melanin Momma Too: More on Dr. Frances Cress Welsing


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After watching the video below on Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, we learned there are people claiming she “was married to a German [KRAUT!].” We decided to verify that claim. One of the commenters on the video connected a link to Dr. Welsing’s Obituary which states clearly that her deceased husband was a GHANAIAN named Johannes Kramer Welsing.

All it took was the application of a little critical thinking and attention to detail to dig up the following post from to learn where the idea of Dr. Welsing being married to a German (aka Kraut) originated. We first did a search for “dr. welsing” married german kraut which resulted in finding the post below to a thread on

Screenshot of 08-23-2006 post on claiming Dr. Frances Cress Welsing was once married to a German [Kraut]
Screenshot of 08-23-2006 post on claiming Dr. Frances Cress Welsing was once married to a German [Kraut] originally found at: /––/

Later in that same thread came the following:

Dr. Fuller’s response was that Dr. Cress Welsing has never been married EVER to a europeon [sic]. She was at one time married to a Ghanaian, which was where she got the Welsing name, which is German

Dr. Fuller's response was that Dr. Cress Welsing has never been married EVER to a europeon. She was at one time married to a Ghanaian, which was where she got the Welsing name, which is German--as there were many various europeon colonizers whose names got imposed upon Afrikans during the colonial period and after.
Dr. Fuller’s response was that Dr. Cress Welsing has never been married EVER to a europeon. She was at one time married to a Ghanaian, which was where she got the Welsing name, which is German–as there were many various europeon colonizers whose names got imposed upon Afrikans during the colonial period and after.

January 2, 2016 was declared Dr. Frances Cress Welsing Day by the Washington, DC City Council. The posthumous resolution presented by Councilmember LaRuby May recognized Dr. Welsing’s work and acknowledged her long career. As, January 2, 2017, marked the one year anniversary of Dr. Welsing joining the ancestors, we thought it would be appropriate to address this issue in her honor. By doing so we had to find the facts of Dr. Welsing’s life which are as follows.

In The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation a small bio of Dr. Welsing can be found. It is from that and the obituary referenced in the video above that we got the first bits of information on Dr. Welsing’s life.

Born Frances Luella Cress on March 18, 1935 in Chicago, Illinois, her parents were Dr. Henry Noah Cress and Ida Mae Griffin. She was the middle child of three girls. Her elder sister is Lorne, and younger Barbara.

Her father, Dr. Henry Noah Cress  received his degree from University of Illinois College of Medicine on June 13, 1931.

Dr. Frances L. Cress Welsing, M.D. was a child and general psychiatrist. At one time she served as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine at Howard University.

Henry Noah Cress University of Illinois College of Medicine June 13, 1931
Father of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, Dr. Henry Noah Cress graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine June 13, 1931.

Her grandfather Henry Clay Cress was also a physician and surgeon.

After graduating from Wendell Phillips High School, Cress attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. During 1953 Miss Cress left Antioch College to spent three months working in the Northwestern Medical School laboratory. Antioch’s program called for students to alternate between classroom study and experience working full-time in their field. In April of 1955 she worked as a lab technician in the bio-chemistry department of New York State Psychiatric Institute. The assignment was part of a work study program for on-the-job research as part of her studies at Antioch College where she was a fourth year pre medicine major. The work she did consisted primarily of brain chemical measurement and analysis. She graduated from Antioch in 1957.

Dr. Welsing earned her M.D. degree from Howard University in 1962, after which she completed a residency program lasting three years at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in the Southeast quadrant of  Washington, D.C. She also completed a two year fellowship in Child Psychology at Children’s Hospital in Washington as well.

Welsing wrote a letter which appeared in the “Black Voices” column of the Afro newspaper in December 1969. The letter titled “Distorted Logic” gives a preview of Dr. Welsing’s perception of the world we live in as she addresses the revelation of the My Lai massacre in South Vietnam. To the question “How could it ever happen?” Dr. Welsing points out that what happened there was a continuation of the historical practices of the United States towards people of melanin. She characterizes the thought process which allows such behavior to be one of “rationalization and denial.”

She points out the enslavement of “black” Africans, their brutal enslavement, lynching and denial of full citizenship permitted the massacre of “red” American Indians justified the massacre of “gooks” for the same reason — “they  are all non-white.”

As Welsing declares:

Until the effective majority of white American mothers raise their sons to be “good boys,” in the sense that they teach them not to consider themselves to be better than or superior to non-white peoples simply on the basis of skin color, no white American should hypocritically look down upon the murdering soldiers of Mylai [sic], or be shocked or abhorred by such behavior.

An article appearing in the Washington Post by Hollie West addressed the issue of children and racism with Welsing as the focal point. In her opinion racism is “no more shattering than children looking at their parents argue, watching violence-filled television programs, or learning about sex.” She delved into the topic of so-called “white” supremacy and sex. In her opinion, “white people do not like the way they look…don’t like their bodies…so they have degraded the whole act of self-reproduction.” Welsing further expanded on the subject of sex when she stated:

I teach people that sex is the act of self-reproduction. If you like yourself, then that becomes for which you have the highest level of respect. And just the minute you say that to the brain, it becomes no problem for you. A 3-year-old says, ‘Daddy what is sex?’ You say, ‘Sex is the act that reproduces you, Jennifer.’

West goes on to address the claim Welsing’s ideas are “controversial.” This was due to her statements regarding people who call themselves “white” as being albinos. It is curious that he, like others, has referred to her stance as being “controversial.”

According to the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man database there are eleven phenotypes related to albinism. These phenotypes are the result of mutations in seven different genes. Differences in the seven genes determine the level of melanin in human hair, skin and eyes. Higher levels of cutaneous melanin results in skin having color from brown to black. Lower melanin levels in skin appears to be red to white. The genes which identify as being related to albinism are:

Albino is a word derived from the Latin term for “white.” The genes which affect hair, skin and eyes listed above reveal different levels of melanin produce different phenotypes. SLC24A5 specifically relates to skin melanin levels. Under SLC24A5 we find the following in terms of hair, skin and eye color:

  • Light colored irises (blue, green, light brown)
  • Lighter skin color
  • Fair skin
  • Lighter hair color
  • Decreased eumelanin content

With those descriptions, what is “controversial” when an “albino” seems to have all the attributes of a person who calls themselves “white?”

Dr Welsing participated in a debate Feb 5, 1974 on “Tony Brown’s Journal.” She was opposed by Nobel Prize winner in the field of transistors, Dr. William Shockley.

Dysgenics is a word used by Dr. Shockley that means “down breeding” or regressive evolution. Dr. Shockley used the term dysgenics to represent what he felt was a problem. He did not feel he was a racist. He advocated “a demand for diagnosis.” Shockley also referred to what he supported as being “raceology” or a “scientific analysis of racial differences.”

Welsing on the other hand spoke that day of her “Cress Theory of Color Confrontation” which she wrote in 1969. She wrote that paper to understand the behavior of “white people in relationship to all people of color.” She pointed out how the Black Caucus of the American Psychological Association had said that “racism [the white supremacy behavior of ‘white people’] was the number one mental health problem in the nation and was the number one cause of mental health problems.”

Just one year later, Welsing was denied tenure at Howard University which she said was because of her views regarding The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation. After seven years, the dean of the medical school at Howard, Marion Mann, suggested against Welsing’s promotion to associate professor from the position she held, assistant professor. This was despite the fact the appointments and promotions committee of the medical school recommended promotion for Dr. Welsing. Because of the contradiction in recommendations her promotion was submitted to the University officials for review.

According to Dean Mann Welsing “failed to meet normal promotion standards.” The rank of associate professor is where faculty members become qualified for “tenure” or job security.

In July 1975, the Washington Post reported that Dr. Welsing had been “dropped by Howard.” The promotion to associate professor did not occur despite the above mentioned recommendation by the faculty committee. Dean Mann did not list any explanation as to why Dr. Welsing was not promoted in his termination letter, although it had been approved by President of the University James E. Cheek.

It seems that a bias or perceptual deficit exists regarding the views of Dr. Welsing. An example is the article which appeared in the Washington Post on September 25, 1980. Under the title “Can’t Buy Genetic Urge To Lynch” Dr. Welsing is described as a “controversial Black Doctor” for having “provoked reporters’ reactions.” Dr. Welsing was invited to speak at a Community Conference in Washington D.C. and the Post sent two reporters. Both were “intrigued” by her presentation.

Welsing spoke for three hours that day according to Michael McQueen. McQueen, unfortunately falsely equated ideas about “black behavior patterns” with Dr. Welsing’s conclusions to as a means to refute them. He never addressed her position directly. Therefore, he never contradicts her. When he states that, “I can’t buy that there is a genetic ‘urge’ to lynch” he is falsely refuting a position that Welsing never takes. He never addresses the “white race’s survival paranoia” either. Is that because it is easier to refute that which was never stated than it is to refute that which was stated?

As if to contradict his counterpart’s article in the Post, Edward D. Sargent showed a completely different perception of Dr. Welsing. He saw her as someone who “dare(s) to study, research and come up with new conclusions” about what Michael McQueen attended and reported on that day as being the manner in which the “values, customs, idiosyncrasies and biases” of white people affect black people’s mental health. Sargent, viewed Welsing as someone who, “challenges the status quo and explanations for why things are the way they are.” He cited her invocation that Black people, “respect themselves.” Curiously, McQueen not only failed to report on that aspect of Dr. Welsing’s views, he completely disregarded them. It seems as though McQueen and Sargent attended two totally different events, with two totally different speakers.

Welsing was a panelist on a special episode of ABC’s NIGHTLINE. The April 27, 1989 program “WASHINGTON, DC/DIVIDED CITY” analyzed the contributions of drugs, crime and racism as factors affecting life in the violence riddled United States nation’s capital.

For the People, was a public affairs series for the African-American community with a scholarly bent, made its debut in 1973 hosted Beryl Dakers. Later, the series was hosted by Listervelt Middleton and ran for a quarter century. Dr. Welsing appeared on “For the People” with Middleton as the host. The 1989 episode of “For the People” with Dr. Welsing was the first exposure your writer had to the term “melanin.”

Middleton and Welsing participated in a six part interview series. The sessions involved the origin of racism in the United States with Dr. Welsing using a chessboard to make her points.

Essence magazine included Dr. Welsing in its list of “Legends in Our Time” for its May 1990 issue. Later that same month Dr. Welsing saw herself immersed in a public swirl of opposing opinions on her Cress Theory of Color Confrontation. The 15-page paper published in 1970 was included with review copies of the Public Enemy album “Fear of a Black Planet.” Welsing was cited as inspiration for the album by publicist Harry Allen, known as “director of enemy relations.” The title track alludes to Welsing when its lyrics reference the genetic potential for “a Black Planet.” In an interview with the Washington Post she pointed out that she only had communications with Allen. Though Dr. Welsing was surprised to have any connection to the album at all, she was not surprised about the reaction by critics. For a well-known psychiatrist to trigger annoyance “that a black person would write about white behavior” seemed to confirm the very theory melanin challenged people delight in rejecting.

The early 1990 release of Dr. Welsing’s seminal book “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors” was several years in the making. By dissecting the effects of “white supremacy” on the mental health of Black people Welsing expanded upon the ideas first documented in “The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation.”

In May 1995, another Essence magazine article entitled “Wonder women” praised Dr. Welsing for having “pinned racism to the couch and psychoanalyzed it.” The article assesses Welsing’s theory of “White Supremacy Culture” as “white folks’ response to being the world’s ‘minority’ and genetically headed down the dinosaur trail.”

Welsing’s younger sister, MRS. BARBARA H.C. LAWRENCE joined the ancestors just over a month after her sibling on February 20, 2016. Mrs. Lawrence was the wife of the first African-American astronaut, Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr. Since his untimely December 8, 1967 death in an Air Force training exercise, Lawrence had been denied official status by NASA as an astronaut. The Astronauts Memorial Foundation repeatedly refused to etch his name on the Space Mirror at Kennedy Space Center until Congressman Bobby L. Rush intervened, a situation Rush characterized as “classic…institutional racism.”

Depict Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. in the Air Force
Robert Henry Lawrence in Air Force. Lawrence was the first African American astronaut and the brother in law of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing.

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