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Essay on A Brief Biography of Mamie Phipps Clark

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Mamie Phipps Clark was born on April 18, 1917 in Hot Spring, Arkansas. Mrs. Clark was brought up knowing a professional lifestyle. Her father Harold H. Phipps was an African American, who was a physician and was more than able to support his family of four rather easily. Her mother Katy Florence Phipps, was a homemaker who was very involved in her husband's medical practice. Mamie had explained that being an African American in the early 1930’s and living in the South was far from easy, even for the middle class family that she came from. “My father was a well-respected black person, and it was a phenomenon that is not really unusual in the South, that even in the highly segregated situations, you will have a few blacks that are…show more content…
It was Kenneth who after a while finally convinced Mamie that she should pursue psychology because unlike mathematics and the physics Mamie was studying a career in psychology seemed as if it would be more promising when it came to employment opportunities, and it would also allow for her to explore the interests she had in children's development: "I'd always had an interest in children. Always, from the time I was very small. I'd always thought I wanted to work with children, and psychology seemed a good field." In 1934, Mamie Clark graduated magna cum laude from Howard University, Mamie then immediately enrolled in the psychology graduate program. In 1939 Mamie was studying African American children that were in segregated nursery schools as a topic for her project. Her master's thesis was, "The Development of Consciousness of Self in Negro Pre-School Children," and that started the beginning of a line of research that later became historic when it was used to help make racial segregation unconstitutional in American public schools. Her thesis concluded that the children became aware of their "blackness" early on in their childhood. She used pictures of both white and black boys with numerous animals and a clown. She concluded that the children did not self-identify with the different images, and it was this conclusion that later became the foundation
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