• Michelle Smith

Amazing Melanated Mommies: 7

Updated: Apr 18, 2019

While African American history is too extraordinary to be summed up in a year, let alone a month, we will be celebrating phenomenal women who changed the world as we see it now all while raising children. If they can do it, so can we. Lets do it!!!

Mamie Phipps Clark was a trailblazer in the field of psychology, noted as the first African American woman to earn a PhD in experimental psychology in 1943. Clark was born in Arkansas to a well respected physician and resort owner, and a mother who stayed at home with her and her younger brother. Even in the comfort of what she described as a “privileged childhood”, she could not escape the muddles of racial oppression. In pursuit of becoming a physician like her father, Mamie received her BA with a major in math and a minor in physics from Howard University. Her husband Kenneth Clark, who was also attending Howard University and came to be a well know professional in the field of psychology, encouraged Clark to pursue psychology due to her deep interest in child development. Mamie’s Master thesis “The Development of Consciousness of Self in Negro Pre-School Children”, inspired her and her husband to collaborate on the infamous doll study that played a key role as evidence in the court challenge that led to the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, by proving that segregation caused psychological harm to children. Clark and her husband went on to work together on many great projects including the Northside Center for Child Development (the first center to provide therapy for children in Harlem) and Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited Project. Through these programs they offered therapy for children, educational and housing opportunities for parents and vocational guidance for adolescents. While she greatly impacted the lives of numerous children, Mamie also raised two children of her own. Thank you for your dedication, salute Mrs. Mamie Phipps Clark!

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