The Psychological Identity Of Black Children During The Historic Brown Vs. The Board Of Education Of Topeka

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Mamie P. & Kenneth B. Clark
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Mamie P. & Kenneth B. Clark
Biographical Information
Mamie Phipps and Kenneth Bancroft Clark are best known for their “doll studies,” and the use of their findings regarding the effects of racism on the psychological identity of black children in the historic Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas case, which lead to the determination that separate but equal education for black students was unconstitutional. Mamie Phipps Clark was born April 18, 1917 to a middle class doctor from Hot Springs, Arkansas (Gibbons & Van Nort, 2009, p. 29). Because of her father’s status, she had a
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Kenneth Bancroft Clark was born July 24, 1914 in the Panama Canal Zone to parents of Jamaican and West Indian descent (Kennedy, 2015). Like his wife, Kenneth Bancroft Clark also attended Howard University and then Columbia University where he would become the first black man to earn a Ph.D. in psychology (Kennedy, 2015). While at Columbia University, he was associated with Gunnar Myrdal, a Swedish economist known for both his study of race relations and his contributions to desegregation in the United States (Larson, 2014). Both Clarks are tied to the Civil Rights Movement and their work is aligned with the social reconstructionist curriculum ideology of the time period. Both Clarks define the ideal of what W.E.B. Du Bois (1903) hoped to achieve with his Talented Tenth in that both pursued the highest levels of education and then sought to use that education as a means of improving the lives of black people, particularly black children. Kenneth Bancroft Clark was committed to the promotion of social action and believed that change needed to occur in the behavior of both white and well as black people (Freeman, 2008, p. 419).
Theoretical Information
The psychological work of both Clarks is focused in the area of racial identity among black youth (Gibbons & Van Nort, 2009, p. 29). They sought to provide evidence of the detrimental effects of a society where social norms are biased toward white culture. Though the Clarks are most widely recognized for their
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