Dr. Kenneth Clark: Who is he? He was an educator and psychologist at the City College of New York. He was also the first black president of The American Psychological Association. This article will give sparse information but will serve as a guide to more.
THE DOLL STUDY
Clark spent years studying race relations in America. He is known for his research on the “doll study,” which was crucial to the desegregation of public schools in America. The opinion resulting from the study is summarized in this statement: “To segregate them (black children) from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way likely to ever be undone.”
More specifically, Dr. Clark was involved with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education US Supreme Court desegregation case where he was asked by attorneys to present his work on the effects of segregation on children.
MY FIRST DOLL
Growing up in the heart of the south, the only dolls I saw and knew about were white. My imagination never ventured above such a doll. I knew the dolls did not have physical features that matched mine. . . that was unimportant. I wanted that doll! I was a kid whose world said this is what a doll should look like. That desire and knowledge did not match the life lessons given to me by my parents. Those lessons told me I was just as important as the poor white children living on the farm behind ours. Dad had more land than their father and Mom was always letting them borrow sugar, flour and other items. We played with them, but they made it clear, we were not their equal.
As teenagers, we went to college, they didn’t. Still . . . society labeled us inferior. These were hard lessons, but they only made us stronger. As adults, their socio-economic level is considerably less than ours, but . . . America says, “They are more than.” AMERICA . . . we are not dolls, we are people . . .
RACE RIOTS AND DR. KENNETH CLARK
During the 1967 race riots, Dr. Clark was called as an expert witness by the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, an organization formed by President Lyndon Johnson.
In1962, he founded Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited, an organization that aided youth in educational development and job opportunities.
BOOKS BY DR. CLARK
- Prejudices and Your Child
- Dark Ghetto
- The Negro and the American Promise
- Pathos of Power.