As racial justice continues to top the headlines, we look to the past and honor one notable alumnus who came to our attention when compiling a TC History Calendar: Kenneth Bancroft Clark, born this day in history, July 14th, 1914. Clark was the first African-American to earn a Ph'D in psychology from Columbia University. He attended Howard University, a historically black institution, where he received his BA and Masters, before going on to Teachers College, Columbia University.
Kenneth Bancroft Clark (July 14, 1914 - May 1, 2005) was an African-American Psychologist known for his influential research on the effects of racial segregation on children. He and his wife, Mamie Phipps Clark, administered a landmark doll test to African American children in the 1940s and 1950s that asked them to select a favorite doll, either black or white, to understand their preferences as to "good" and "bad" and their attitudes towards race.
An activist for civil rights and integration, Clark established several institutions, among them the Northside Child Development Center in Harlem and Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited. He and his wife testified as expert witnesses in Briggs versus Elliott (1952), one of several lawsuits that led to the landmark case, Brown versus Board of Education (1954). Kenneth Clark taught at City College of New York and served as the first black president of the American Psychological Association. He was also the first African American to serve on the New York State Board of Regents.
Mamie Phipps Clark (Mrs. Kenneth B. Clark) became a trustee of Teachers College in 1969 and was re-elected to the "Class of 1981" in 1975. She earned her B.S. and M.S. from Howard University and her Ph'D from Columbia University.
The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- Tertes, R. (1964, Sep 29). Populace's Voice In School Scored: Clark Says Educators Must Set Integration Policy. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Allen, H (1979, Mar 07). Kenneth Clark, Social Psychologist As Persistent Paradox: Outspoken In the Cause Of Social Justice. The Washington Post (1974-Current File)
- Arnold, M. (1970, Apr 21). Foe Of Separatism: Kenneth Bancroft Clark. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Just Teach Them To Read!: Kenneth Clark's Revolutionary Slogan. (1973, Mar 18). New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Clark Calls On Regents To Supersede Bd. Of Ed. (1974, Mar 30). New York Amsterdam News (1962-1993)
- Browne, J. Z. (1975, Nov 26). Dr. Kenneth Clark and Dr. Mamie Clark... ...Opening Family Race Relations Firm. New York Amsterdam News (1962-1993)
- Jarrett, V. (1979, Sep 14). A Psychologist Speaks His Mind. Chicago Tribune (1963-1996)
- Hildebrand, J. (1986, Mar 20). A Voice For Poor Black Students: Kenneth Clark, The Regents' 'Conscience,' Will Be Honored By Colleagues Tonight. Newsday (1940-1991)
- Maraniss, D. (1990, Mar 04). Icon Of Integration and the Durability Of Racism. The Washington Post (1974-Current File)
- Severo, R. (2005, May 02). Kenneth Clark, Who Helped End Segregation, Dies. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- See here for books written by Kenneth Clark that are held at the Gottesman Libraries and searchable via Educat, the catalog.
- Try a search in Pocketknowledge, the digital archive of Teachers College, to see related material by Kenneth Clark.
- Check Archive Grid for other archival collections, including those at the Library of Congress, that contain photographs, papers, correspondences and more about Kenneth Bancroft Clark.
- Special News Slide, Courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries
- Kenneth Bancroft Clark, Chicago Urban League Records, University of Illinois at Chicago Library,Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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