PI Celebrates Black History Month
Did you know that in September 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. took the podium at APA’s Annual Convention in Washington, D.C.? Were you aware that a husband and wife black psychologist team provided key research that was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in its historic 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional?
In February, the Public Interest Directorate honors the contribution of African-Americans to psychology and to the advancement of our nation. New prominent African-American psychologists and APA contributions to racial equality in this country will also be updated regularly, and many more resources can be found.
Inez Prosser, PhD
America's first black female psychologist conducted important research on segregation, reaching controversial conclusions in the decades leading to the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954. Her dissertation research examined self-esteem and personality variables in matched pairs of African-American middle-school children in segregated schools and helped highlight the need to improve educational systems that were already integrated. Though her life was cut tragically short, Prosser was also instrumental in assisting many black students in obtaining funds for college and for graduate study.
Mamie Phipps Clark, PhD, and Kenneth Clark, PhD
The Clarks were the first African-Americans to obtain doctoral degrees in psychology from Columbia University. Kenneth Clark was the first African-American to be president of the American Psychological Association. Mamie Clark's master's thesis, "The Development of Consciousness of Self in Negro Pre-school Children," centered on racial identity and self-esteem. This was also the foundation of the Clarks' famous doll studies.
Did you know?
APA continues to make contributions to racial equality today, improving human welfare and promoting social justice in major ways:
APA has highlighted studies on how children's perceptions of race affect their job hopes, how African American women leaders manage stress and succeed in different work settings, produced teaching videos for psychologists working with African-American clients, interviewed a psychologist notable for his research on “aversive racism” and promoted research to address issues such as limited access to mental health and behavioral health care.
APA's Minority Fellowship Program offers federally funded training programs for ethnic and racial minority researchers, a Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) and the Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs (OEMA) work to increase the scientific understanding of how psychology pertains to both race/ethnicity. APA also reviews books that deal with the psychological affects of racism.
APA's Public Interest Directorate also offers the following publications and resources: