Black Drug Policy History

Each February in honor of Black History Month, the Drug Policy Alliance seeks to raise awareness about the significant and far-reaching roles that Black authors, activists and movement builders have played and continue to play in drug policy reform.


Why some of the content on this page has been removed since your last visit.

In May 2018, an internal investigation by the Drug Policy Alliance found some of the content featured on this page was developed pursuant to an improper arrangement, thus threatening the integrity of the content shared on our platforms.

DPA takes great pride in the quality of our communications about drug policy and we place tremendous value on truth and transparency in our communications with the public. We believe it is critical to our mission that the public be able to trust our content.

While the previously published stories and information about the war on drugs and the harms it has had on Black people are factual and important in illustrating why this war must end, we have decided to no longer share this content, as the means through which it was created and more widely shared directly contradicts our organizational values.

We appreciate the continued support of our community of partners in the media and beyond, and have taken measures to ensure that all future content meets the highest standards of quality and journalistic integrity.


02/28/16
By Kassandra Frederique
She carries the name of the two women that she loves the most, her godmother and her grandmother, her name is Gloria Rosaline Preudhomme. Her work with the Institute of the Black World is a testament to her commitment to end… Read More
02/18/16
By asha bandele
Tina Glasgow, the mother of prominent drug policy reformer, Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, talks to DPA about how she became a drug policy reformer. Approximately 16 miles north of Florida and 20 miles west of Georgia, tucked… Read More
02/11/16
By Kristen Maye
To be Black and a woman in the U.S. is a testament to the constant need for harm reduction in one’s life. Navigating the uneven terrain created by racism and sexism creates constant risk in the circumstances of one… Read More
02/04/16
By asha bandele
I first see her seven years ago, eyes brighter than the fluorescent lights of Broadway up the street from DPA-HQ.  She’s an intern, but she takes over.  All those pushy questions, and steady of her love for… Read More
01/31/16
By Melissa Franqui
At a time when the nation reflects and focuses on the history, contributions and lives of Black Americans, our recent International Drug Policy Reform Conference’s town hall presents a profoundly relevant conversation… Read More
02/23/15
By Melody Lee
When I think of reformers that have played a groundbreaking role in our movement, no name comes to mind quicker than VOCAL-NY. The leaders of VOCAL-NY, Bobby Tolbert, Elizabeth Owens, Hiawatha Collins, James Dean, Wayne… Read More
02/19/15
By gabriel sayegh
Every movement for justice and freedom has within it skillful organizers who, while often behind the scenes, are instrumental to movement-building. For instance, so much defining work of the Civil Rights Movement can be… Read More
02/12/15
By Laura Thomas
Deon Haywood is many things – a fierce human rights champion, a brilliant thinker, a powerful organizer, an African-American woman – and we are lucky to have her as part of the drug policy reform movement. When she was… Read More
02/05/15
By Kristen Maye
Every generation is granted a few books that define the times. These books reframe prevailing conversations, open up new space for action around old problems, and set the record straight. Carl Hart produced one such book… Read More
02/27/14
By Stephen Gutwillig
Dismantling the catastrophic drug war is finally on the horizon, and mainstream civil rights organizations are playing a central role in that struggle. As Michelle Alexander has framed in agonizing detail, many if not most… Read More