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Kenneth Bancroft Clark

Biography: 

Kenneth Bancroft Clark (1914-2005) was an educator and psychologist. Born in the Panama Canal Zone, Clark and his mother moved to New York when he was five. After attending public elementary school in Harlem and secondary school in Upper Manhattan, Clark completed his undergraduate work at Howard, from which he also received a graduate degree. Clark later received a doctoral degree in psychology from Columbia University; he was the first African American to do so. Clark married Mamie Phipps Clark, who also received a doctoral degree in psychology from Columbia. Beginning as early as 1939 the Clarks conducted tests using dolls to determine the psychological effects of segregation on black children. The NAACP used the Clarks' study to challenge state-mandated segregation for public schoolchildren, arguing that the study confirmed that segregated education inflicted harm on black children. Clark subsequently organized Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited, which endeavored to improve the academic, extracurricular, and professional opportunities afforded to Harlem residents. Clark became the first African American to become a tenured professor in the City College system of New York. In 1966 he became the first African American elected to the New York State Board of Regents. Clark retired from his post in the City College system in 1975.

Image: Original caption: 4/20/1970 - Washington, D.C. - A new senate committee - the select committee on equal education opportunity - started it search for a way out of the dilemma posed by segregated schools in the north was told by Dr. Kenneth Clark that the continuing school segregation is "deadening and destroying" the ethical effectiveness of America's white children. Dr. Clark is a Negro psychologist from the College of the City of New York whose research was cited by the Supreme Court in its 1954 desegregation decision.  Copyright: Bettmann/Corbis.

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