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In 1963 Bill graduated from the University of Denver with a BA in psychology. His text, Shades of Black (Temple University Press, 1991) is a classic in the field.Foster, helped Bill forge a connection between psychology and African American Studies.His first academic appointment with the African Studies and Research Center [Cornell University] combined black studies and psychology.
The Cross Model became “the” template for scholars fashioning similar models on Native American Identity, Women’s Identity, Gay-Lesbian Identity, and Asian American Identity, etc. Cross completed his doctorate at Princeton University, where his life long friend, Badi G.
Although he never completed the MA degree, his exposure to clinical psychology explains his lifelong focus on process and developmental stages.
Bill was swept-up by the Black Consciousness Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
Peony Fhagen-Smith – a graduate student at Penn State – turned Bill’s perspective toward a lifespan perspective, a focus recently revisited in an expanded work co-authored with Tuere Binta Cross, his daughter.
At Penn State, Bill formed a research team consisting of Beverly Vandiver, Frank Worrell, Kevin Cokley, and Peony Fhagen-Smith.