Feature

At the 2004 Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) Biennial Convention, society president and University of Delaware psychology professor James M. Jones, PhD, presented a presidential citation honoring Kenneth B. Clark, PhD, psychology professor emeritus at the City College of New York, for advancing civil rights through his research input on Brown v. Board of Education and beyond.

At the request of the Brown attorneys, Clark authored an amicus curiae Social Science Statement that informed the justices of his and others' research on the deleterious effects of segregation on black children. This paper influenced the Supreme Court's decision to declare desegregation unconstitutional in the 1954 Brown ruling.

His famous "Doll Study"--co-authored with his wife Mamie Phipps Clark, PhD--showed that black children preferred white dolls, possibly illustrating they had internalized society's preferential treatment of white children.

Clark became the first African-American president of both SPSSI and APA. Those achievements, along with his research, and the social progress it informed, show that "social science can play an important role in deciding social issues," said Jones.

Also honored for their work promoting social change were: U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) for his career as a civil rights leader, legislator and advocate for social justice; psychologist M. Brewster Smith, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz; psychologist Nancy Cantor, PhD, chancellor of Syracuse University; psychologist Patricia Gurin, PhD, professor emerita at the University of Michigan; the corporation Lucent Technologies, for its commitment to diversity; and The Xerox Corporation, for mentoring minorities into its top executive positions.

--S. DINGFELDER