February is the month to celebrate African American History. It represents the perfect time for us to reflect and learn more about the contributions of African Americans. There are so many significant and important accomplishments made by African Americans throughout history, such as Daniel Hale Williams performing the world’s first successful open-heart surgery, and Martin Luther King Jr. leading the Civil Rights Movements which eventually led to the end of segregation in the 1960s.
Within the field of Psychology, there are significant contributions made by Black psychologists that students need to know about. For instance, Mamie Phipps and Kenneth Bancroft Clark made great contributions in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. Specifically, in their famous “Doll Study,” they showed that segregation was extremely damaging to Black children in their perceptions of themselves as a whole, as they preferred the White doll as opposed to the Black doll. Importantly, Clark served as the first Black President of the American Psychological Association, and Mamie Phipps Clark was the first Black woman to receive her Ph.D. from Columbia University in Psychology.
Photos of Mamie Phipps & Kenneth Clark (Photo credit : APA)
Photo Kenneth Clark with a child during his research study (Photo credit: NYtimes)
Another famous Black psychologist is Herman George Canady. He was the first psychologist to examine the effect of the race of the examiner on African American students’ performance on IQ test. Canady also helped to establish the West Virginia Psychological Association, the West Virginia State Board of Psychological Examiners, and the Charleston Guidance Clinic.
Photo of Canady (Photo credit: APA)
Finally, did you know SU has a Student Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi)? This professional association of African American psychologists aims to “liberate the African mind from mental slavery, educate all individuals about Black/African psychology, address issues that negatively impact the black community, and help bring social change through education and community service.” Students who are interested in joining may email email@example.com for more information.
Happy African American History Month!
By: Semira Nock