Mamie Clark

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

download word file, 7 pages 3.0

I chose Mamie Phipps Clark to write a biography because of her contributions to Psychology as we know it today. Mamie was an African-American Psychologist who made a significant impact on developmental psychology. Mamie received distinguised alumni awards from both Howard and Columbia Universities. She also received honorary doctorate degrees from Williams College and the Pratt Institute and a noted fellowship award from the American Association of University Women for her research on the psychological effects of racism and segregation. Her contributions stimulated racial desegregation in education in order to improve the lives of minorities.

Mamie Phipps Clark was born Mamie Katherine Phipps. She was born in 1917 and died in 1983. She was the eldest of two children born to Harold H. and Katie F. Phipps in Hot Springs, Arkansas where Mamie attended racially segregated elementary and secondary schools. She graduated Pine Bluff's Lanston High School in 1934 at the age of 16.

After High School, Mamie enrolled in Howard University to major in Mathematics and Physics.

After her first year at Howard University, Mamie met her future husband, Kenneth Bancroft Clark, who influenced her to change her major to Psychology due to her interest in children. She was enrolled into the Psychology program by Francis Cecil Sumner who was Kenneth's mentor at the time and head of the psychology department. Because of her academic scholarships, it was arranged for her allotment to go towards part-time employment in the Psychology department.

Mamie graduated, magna cum laude, in 1938 and received a B.S. degree from Howard University. That summer, she received a secretarial position in the law office of William Houston. There, she was able to witness the legal strategies for the civil rights cases which opposed the laws which allowed segregation, including those which lead to the repeal of...