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Mamie Phipps Clark #BHMwithBWiS


Mamie Phipps Clark


April 1917 - August 1983


African-American (her father was from the British West Indies)

Mamie Phipps Clark (Photo: Psychology's Feminist Voices))


Clark was raised in Arkansas by her mother and father, Katy and Harold. During her masters degree, Mamie met her husband, Kenneth Clark. The support and encouragement of her family allowed her to excel in her academics and pursue her scientific career.


1937 BSci Maths (major) and Physics (minor), Howard University

1938 MSci Psychology, Howard University

1943 PhD in experimental psychology, Columbia University

Scientific career

During her career as a social psychologist, Phipps Mamie worked with her husband on the self-consciousness in black pre-school children. Her doctoral thesis, The Development of Consciousness of Self in Negra Pre-School Children, focused on the effect of segregation on African-American children's attitudes towards race and racial self-identification. She found that children who attended segregated schools preferred playing with white dolls over black dolls. This study was used in the Brown vs Board of Education case.

She opened the Northside Child Development Center. in 1946 to continue to fulfil her interest in child development and to address the lack of social services for minority ethnic children. This expanded in the future to provide educational programmes both children and adults.

Alongside the Northside Child Development Center, Clark worked on the Harlem Youth Opportunities project and was active in the national Head Start programme.


Clark's scientific career is a series of commendable successes.Notably, Clark's Doll Test highlighted many new areas of research in developmental psychology.

Useful links

Mamie Phipps Clark (Psychology's Feminist Voices)

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