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Psychology News

Keyword: psychologists

Throughout the world, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. It is a special day to “highlight women’s achievement, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality” (International Women’s Day, 2020). The history dated back to March 8, 1908 when 15,000 female garment workers marched through New York City's Lower East Side and rallied at Union Square, demanding economic and political rights (Crouch, 2020).

We would like to take this opportunity to celebrate International Women’s Day by highlighting three influential female psychologists.

Mary Calkins

Mary Whiton Calkins (Photo credit: APA)

Calkins was the 14th President of the American Psychological Association (APA). Importantly, she was the first woman to serve as President for APA. As a student of William James, Calkins earned her PhD, but was refused by Harvard University to grant her degree because of her gender. That said, Calkins became a key figure of the first-generation American psychologists and established the first psychological lab at Wellesley College. She was celebrated as one of the 50 most eminent psychologists in 1903.

Anna Freud

Anna Freud (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anna Freud, the daughter of Sigmund Freud, was one of the founders of child psychoanalysis (the other founder was Melanie Klein). She was the author of several important books, such as An Introduction to the Technique of Child Analysis (1927), The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense (1936), and Normality and Pathology in Childhood (1965).

Mamie P Clark

Mamie Phipps Clark (Photo credit: Women You Should Know)

An African American woman during the time of racial segregation in America, Clark was a pioneer in understanding the interplay among race, self-esteem, and child development. Her work with Black Arkansas preschool children examined the relationship between children’s race attitudes and their racial self-identification. Her findings were pivotal in the Brown vs Board of Education Supreme Court legal case in 1954, which ruled that U.S. state laws that established racial segregation in public schools were unconstitutional.                           

By: Nya Medley

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.

Mamie and kenneth1

Photos of Mamie Phipps & Kenneth Clark (Photo credit : APA)

Kenneth and child1

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.

herman canady1

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 for more information.

Happy African American History Month!

By: Semira Nock

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